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Netflix’s Most Watched Show Isn’t What You Think

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Team Stardust
January 27, 2021

Netflix Originals have been among some of the most popular TV series this year. From the infamous Tiger King to the kick-ass Cobra Kai, Netflix knows its way around a hit TV show. However, Netflix’s most-watched series is not what you might think...


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Bridgerton. The #1 most-watched Netflix Original show EVER is the new Shonda Rhimes period romance. 


While Bridgerton has reigned supreme on the Netflix Top 10 list over the past few weeks, it was recently revealed that over 82 million households have watched the series—at least two minutes, that is—in its first 28 days since launch.


The Netflix exec behind the series, Jinny Howe, attributes Bridgerton’s success to its refreshing and remarkably modern storytelling techniques. She says, “if we’re really looking through a female lens and understanding, yes, it’s romance, but to not distill it to something so simple, because there are very complicated female characters at the heart of these stories that I think really resonate with fans.”


Even though audiences BURN for this innovative, streamy, female-empowered series, one has to ask the question: Is a 2-minute viewing duration really an accurate statistic to measure how popular a show is?


What if thousands, if not millions, of the 82 million households Netflix reports to have seen the show merely watched the first few minutes of just one episode? What if, after five minutes of watching, viewers decided that the show wasn’t for them? Should such short engagement count toward popularity metrics? After all, some people may not be as captivated by gorgeous set pieces and instrumental renditions of Taylor Swift’s ‘Wildest Dreams’ during steamy scenes with the Duke of Hastings as others. 


Previously, Netflix aggregated its viewership metrics based on how many viewers watched at least 70% of an episode or film. The streaming service recently updated how it measures metrics to be more similar to how YouTube measures video views, and how editorial websites count an article as “read”. Netflix said in an official statement in early 2020 that they changed the metric to better show how the viewer “chose to watch [the episode/film] and did watch [it] for at least 2 minutes–long enough to indicate the choice was intentional.”


Have you watched Bridgerton or know of someone who has actually seen at least one entire episode of Bridgerton? Do you think the relatively new “2 minutes watched = one household has seen the show” is an accurate way to assess a show’s popularity? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!