Netflix Can Pinpoint Exactly When People Get Addicted to Shows

Data is a splendid thing. And Netflix being Netflix, the streaming service knows exactly what people are watching and when they stop watching. During a set period of time earlier this year, Netflix used that data to figure out exactly when people get hooked on shows. And it’s not the pilot.

Looking at over 20 different shows viewed in 16 different countries, Netflix identified a single episode that locked in people’s addictions. Ranging from the second episode (Breaking Bad, Bates Hotel) to the sixth episode (Mad Men) or even the eighth (How I Met Your Mother), these hooked episodes were statistically crucial to people sticking to a series. In fact, 70 percent of people who watched the hooked episode went on to finish the entire series.


“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 Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix, in a statement. “However… we found that no one was ever hooked on the pilot. This gives us confidence that giving our members all episodes at once is more aligned with how fans are made.”

Now it’s important to remember that Netflix is designed for binge-watching. The hard time slots and commercial breaks of regular TV affect how viewers connect with shows, especially when it comes to pilot episodes. also inform viewership and do prop up pilot episodes, though in a different way. It’s nevertheless interesting to see how people react to TV in its purest form.

To see when Netflix viewers get hooked on each show, check out the infographic below:



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