Netflix knows how long it takes to “hook” you on a show, down to the exact episode

Even meth-slinging Walter White is impressed.
Even meth-slinging Walter White is impressed.
Image: Courtesy of AMC
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Access to cheap and commercial-free television is expanding at an explosive rate, which means viewers can be extra-picky about which shows are worth their time. To the entertainment companies competing for their attention, any data that sheds light on how or why viewers commit to a TV series is valuable information.

Netflix, the web-streaming giant responsible for many a binge-watching session, announced Wednesday (Sept. 23) that it had analyzed global data traffic to figure out when, exactly, viewers became “hooked” on its hit television shows. A “hook episode” was defined as one after which at least 70% of viewers went on to watch the rest of the season.

Here’s how long it apparently takes for some of TV’s most beloved shows to sink their claws in:

To come to these results, Netflix averaged user data from January 2015 to July 2015 in several countries around the world. As Vox points out, the length of time a show takes to “hook” users doesn’t indicate anything about the size of its audience (a more common measure of popularity)—but still, the data is fascinating.

Fans of Breaking Bad were apparently in for the long haul after just two episodes. Enthusiasts of How I Met Your Mother only committed after eight. House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, both Netflix originals, reeled in devotees after three.

Curiously, pilot episodes captured no one. ”Given the precious nature of primetime slots on traditional TV, a series pilot is arguably the most important point in the life of the show,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a release. “However, in our research of more than 20 shows across 16 markets, we found that no one was ever hooked on the pilot.”