Netflix's Bird Box has become something of a pop culture phenomenon over the month since its release. The movie spawned countless memes and a Bird Box challenge that people are taking to such extremes that car accidents are happening. However, the most surprising thing about the film may be the sheer number of people who have actually seen it. Netflix has announced that an estimated 80 million households have viewed the movie.
The reveal came during Netflix's Q4 earnings report (via Variety) where the streaming giant continued a new trend of actually releasing hard data to say that not only have 80 million households apparently seen Bird Box, but several of them have apparently seen it more than once, as Netflix says the film is seeing a high number of repeat viewings.
This data follows on numbers Netflix released via Twitter that claimed over 45 million households had viewed the movie in the first seven days. This has been a significant change for the streaming service, who has previously been tight-lipped regarding how many people are actually watching any given content. However, when the numbers look as good as they do for Bird Box it's not too shocking that the company wants to tout the success, especially when it comes to trying to impress investors.
The problem, of course, is that since Netflix hasn't released numbers like this for other films, it's difficult to compare Bird Box to other Netflix films. In the case of the first seven days number, Netflix claimed that was a record viewership, so it's a good bet that the 80 million number is as well.
Nielsen did its own tracking of Netflix's numbers and while the company didn't come up with numbers quite as high as Netflix, it did find that Bird Box was the most watched Netflix movie ever in its first week, surpassing the Will Smith urban fantasy movie Bright.
Netflix also revealed some details about how it counts views. A subscriber only needs to complete 70% of a TV show or movie for Netflix to count them, so it's theoretically possible that some of those 80 million haven't actually seen the end of Bird Box even though they're being counted as having seen it.
At the end of Q3 of 2018 Netflix had 137 million subscribers worldwide, which would indicate that more than half of the people in the world who own Netflix have seen Bird Box. That's a remarkable attachment rate. It's great news for Netflix as it means their exclusive content is incredibly valuable to the users, meaning they're much more likely to continue subscribing.
It will be interesting to see if Netflix continues to give us a look behind the curtain even when viewing numbers aren't this impressive.
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