Sobering thoughts on the Netflix numbers just announced

Now Netflix is starting to get all chatty about viewing figures following the success of recent shows like Bird Box, You and Sex Education (surely the holiday season has helped?), this insightful article from CNET helps us understand those massive numbers and whether or not traditional media companies need to get worried.

Some key takeaways:

Bird Box - watched by more than 80 million households

Sex Education, a British teen comedy/drama show - estimated to surpass 40 million households

Bodyguard, a BBC-World Productions series that has already aired in the UK and won a best actor Golden Globe for drama earlier this month - 23 million member households


None of the viewership stats have been independently verified or supported by detailed data

Traditional media companies remain glued to official audience measurement ratings (e.g Nielsen / BARB) for a measure of success

You cannot directly compare the number of Netflix member households that have watched a show with Nielsen / BARB audience shows

Netflix counts a movie view after an account watches 70 percent of the total runtime, so in the case of Bird Box, nearly an hour and a half of viewing.

For TV shows, however, an account needs to watch 70 percent of a single episode, so in the case of an "hour-long" drama stripped of all its commercials, that's only about half an hour of watching.

What Next?

Analysts estimate that Netflix spent more than $13bn on movies and shows this year.

Netflix said its spending is likely to increase.

Interesting times ahead and we will see in about three months time if subscriber numbers have been hit by the recent price hike in the US and other countries.