Netflix: Four Episodes Needed To Hook You

With access to all sorts of viewing statistics, Netflix has confirmed a long held belief – that pilot episodes of a TV series will rarely make viewers into fans.

Talking about the study with Deadline, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos says the findings give the service confidence that its ‘all episodes at once’ simultaneous release approach is the right way to do things.

The company tried to pinpoint which episode in a show’s first season was the one during which most viewers would decide to either give up or complete the entire season.

That figure varies from series to series, but the average point seemed to be around the fourth episode – a figure that applied to shows like “Bloodline,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “Better Call Saul”.

Some took longer like “Daredevil” and “BoJack Horseman” at five, “Mad Men” and “The Blacklist” which were six and “Arrow” which was eight. Others came about much faster with the likes of “Breaking Bad,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “The Killing” and “The Walking Dead” hooking viewers in just two while “House of Cards,” “Dexter” and “Orange is the New Black” got them in three.

Nations also differed in terms of adoption, some countries taking a shine to shows earlier than others. One common trait? Australians and New Zealanders generally took an episode or two longer than the rest of the world to make up their mind on almost every show studied.

The study figures come as both Netflix and its major rival Hulu have announced not only new virtual-reality apps, but also new rights deals which have seen them score international streaming rights to several more shows.

Netflix has picked up international streaming rights to CBS’ summer event series “Zoo,” The CW’s acclaimed “Jane the Virgin” and USA’s upcoming sci-fi drama “Colony”. “Zoo” has already been made available in at least the U.S. version of the store.

Meanwhile Hulu has acquired rights to Fox’s sitcom “The Last Man on Earth” just days after it locked down a similar deal for ABC sitcom “The Goldbergs”.