Netflix Knows When You’ll Go From Browsing to Binge Watching

Netflix / Netflix

Did you get to the second episode of Breaking Bad? How about the third episode of Orange Is The New Black? Chances are you then devoured the entire series.

Netflix has crunched the numbers to determine when, exactly, people go from casually trying out a new show to binge-watching it to the detriment of whatever other social obligations they might have had. As it happens, that point almost never happens during the pilot episode. For some shows, it’s the second episode. For others, it might take as many as eight episodes for viewers to get hooked.

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To figure out who binge-watched, Netflix analyzed data from popular shows like Dexter and Mad Men, determining which episode served as the deciding factor for viewers torn between giving up on a new show and committing to a whole season. If 70 percent of people watched the entirety of season one (and beyond) after completing a certain episode, that’s what the company considers the “hook” episode. So, for instant-binge shows like Breaking Bad, most people either quit after the pilot, or watch the second and then rush through the whole series. Shows like How I Met Your Mother are more of a slow burn—people didn’t get hooked until the eighth episode. Mad Men took six episodes to get viewers attached to its characters and story arcs.  

There were also some regional differences. People in Australia and New Zealand tended to hold out longer, starting their full-out binge two episodes later than other countries for most shows. Viewers in the Netherlands, by contrast, seemed to get hooked before viewers in other countries.

The data came from viewers watching season one of these shows in the first half of 2015, so they may not represent the most avid television consumers (Breaking Bad ended two years ago). The data might look a little different for the TV-obsessed Netflixer watching a buzzy new show right when it comes out. 

[h/t: Fast Company]

All images courtesy Netflix