HOOKED

Netflix has figured out how to addict you to its new shows even earlier

Obsession
Glass
Obsession
Glass

Netflix notoriously plays viewership data very close to the vest. The streaming-video giant doesn’t share ratings for its shows. But it does reveal certain programming insights, like the exact episode in a series that first got viewers addicted to watching it.

From the data, it looks like newer Netflix originals are grabbing viewers earlier and earlier on.

Last year, Netflix published its first set of findings on how long it took to hook viewers on its hit shows. What it called “hooked episodes” were ones after which at least 70% of viewers went on to watch the rest of the season. The 2015 figures showed that Netflix’s original programs took three to five episodes to get viewers to commit to a full season. Shows like Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards grabbed viewers after three episodes. Others, like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, took four or more episodes to get their audiences hooked.

Netflix’s latest findings, published Sept. 21, show that newer Netflix originals took as few as two episodes to get viewers to commit.

The majority of people who watched the 1980s-inspired sci-fi series Stranger Things, which was released in July, committed to watching the first full season after just two episodes. That’s when most people were wondering where on earth Will was, what happened to Barb, and what the heck a Demogorgon was.

It was a similar story for the hip-hop drama The Get Down, which premiered on Netflix in August and took two episode to hook viewers. Meanwhile, shows like Narcos and Marseille, which have been successful with the US company’s international audiences, took three episodes to get the bulk people to watch the rest of the season. And Netflix’s hit documentary series Making a Murder took four hour-long episodes to really grab hold of viewers.

So far, Netflix hasn’t cracked the code on how to hook viewers with a single episode. But there’s no doubt that chief content officer Ted Sarandos is working on it.

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