Netflix is very addictive, and anyone who watches a certain number of shows in a series gets hooked. There is a high chance a user will end up binge-watching the entire series once that threshold is crossed. The interesting part is Netflix knows exactly what the ‘threshold’ of its shows is.
Threshold varies with shows
Netflix wanted to find an answer to exactly where the so-called ‘threshold’ lies. The firm wanted to figure out the number of episodes viewed after which a user gets addicted to watching the entire series. To answer these questions, the company did some data crunching. The specific goal was to find out the number of episodes that a viewer needed to watch of a particular show so that the chances of them finishing the entire first season are 70%.
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Netflix analyst team found that the number varied for different shows. Bates Motel and Breaking Bad were quickest in hooking the viewers. The viewers got on board after watching just two episodes of both the shows. For How I Met Your Mother it takes eight episodes to hook viewers.
Netflix using data to make smart decisions
However, Netflix’s findings should be taken with a grain of salt. The first seasons of the shows Bates Motel and Breaking Bad are much shorter than the first season of How I Met Your Mother. The first two shows have 10 and 7 episodes respectively in their first seasons, while How I Met Your Mother has 22 episodes in the first season, notes a report from the Huffington Post. This means that if anyone watches two episodes of Breaking Bad then he/she is much closer to the end of the season, and is more likely to watch it through the end than someone who watches two episodes of How I Met Your Mother.
Despite this, the results highlight that binge-watching is increasingly becoming the dominant mode of TV viewership. Shows that continued across many episodes and had highly serial plots were able to hook the viewers very quickly. On the other hand, shows that were episodic – meaning they started and ended in a single episode took a longer time to hook viewers. This could be the reason Netflix tends towards serial plots in the shows that it produces on its own, says Huffington Post. These results also give a glimpse into the vast array of ways Netflix can use data to influence its programming decisions.