Following last weekend's TUDUM streaming event, Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos revealed more data about the most popular shows on the streaming platform. Netflix is very selective about the data it releases publicly, so the chart shown during Vox Media's Code Conference at the Beverly Hilton was one of the most detailed looks the company has ever provided. Unsurprisingly, Bridgerton, The Witcher, Bird Box, and Extraction all held top spots.
Bridgerton topped the list of shows sampled by the most accounts in their first 28 days of release. After Bridgerton was released in December, 82 million households sampled the show, according to Netflix's internal data. Bridgerton also topped the chart of shows with the most hours watched, as subscribers spent 625 million hours watching the show's first eight episodes. If a household even sampled just two minutes of a show or movie, it is considered a household that sampled the content.
Show and tell from Netflix’s Ted Sarandon, right after dismissing Apple’s Ted Lasso as an “awards-y show” that likely has a small audience: Netflix shows ranked by viewers and viewing hours. pic.twitter.com/8ceTSHqr2c— Peter Kafka (@pkafka) September 27, 2021
On the movie side, Extraction, the Chris Hemsworth-starring action movie released in April 2020, was sampled by 99 million households in the first 28 days since its release. Bird Box came in second, with 89 million households checking out the movie after it was released in December 2018. Netflix subscribers also spent 282 million hours watching Bird Box, while they spent 231 million hours watching Extraction. (The discrepancy could be chalked up to length since Extraction is a few minutes shorter than Bird Box. Length could also be why Netflix subscribers spent 215 million hours watching Martin Scorsese's 209-minute film The Irishman, but the movie didn't even crack the Top 10 on the list of movies sampled by the most accounts. Netflix also didn't note how many subscribers actually finish watching these movies or television shows.)
"We're trying to be more transparent with talent, with the market," Sandos said Monday, reports Variety. He referred to Netflix's streaming data as a "big black box, mostly." He said the company does use certain data for business decisions, but they are careful not to rely too much on it for content creation because "reverse-engineering a story" doesn't always work. He predicted that Netflix's next big hit will be the Korean survival drama Squid Game, which is on track to be Netflix's most popular show ever since it was released on Sept. 17. The show ranks No. 1 worldwide in popularity on the service.
Sarandos also noted that Netflix is not interested in adding live sports programming. Instead, Netflix would rather invest $10 billion in making more TV shows and movies. He believes the company is "competing with ourselves" at this point, as they still dominate the streaming market worldwide. Over 209 million subscribers pay for Netflix worldwide, as of the second quarter of 2021. "The thing I'm concerned with over the next decade is, can we continue to execute [at scale]," Sarandos said, notes Variety. "To me, that's more troubling than any competition in the marketplace."