Original programming has become an ace in the hole for Netflix. Shows like Stranger Things, Bridgerton, and The Witcher have cemented the streaming giant’s status as an entertainment force to be reckoned with and ushered in an era of "binge-watching." These shows have become three of the service's top titles, securing millions of new accounts and creating huge social media buzz. However, Stranger Things has one leg up on the competition.
Unless you live under a rock with no Wi-Fi, you’ve probably heard of Bridgerton. The first season of the newest addition to the Shonda Rhimes catalogue burst onto the streaming scene in December 2020, with its lavish period costumes, high society intrigue, and swoon-worthy love stories. In fact, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that it's actually the most-watched Netflix original of all time (unless Squid Game manages to catch up), with over 82 million people tuning in to the historical drama. The Witcher is also doing pretty well, as over 76 million accounts watched the fantasy adventure. Despite these impressive metrics, however, Stranger Things has one huge advantage: the nostalgic sci-fi thriller has a higher overall viewing time.
So what does this mean? Let’s break it down. Per THR, viewers of both Bridgerton and The Witcher spent about 8 hours, or the length of one full season, watching each show. This data implies that most viewers finished both programs in their entirety. The same is true for Stranger Things - most viewers watch the full 7.5 hour-long season.
However, data shows that viewers, on average, spent 8.5 hours watching Stranger Things, as opposed to approximately 7.5 hours for Bridgerton and The Witcher. This means that many viewers are not only finishing the sci-fi show but also going back after the fact to revisit Hawkins, Indiana. That’s great news for Netflix, considering that the streaming service’s business model relies on frequent viewing. It’s part of the reason it churns out so much new content. After all, once a viewer has finished a show, they'd only be prompted to keep the service in order to watch new content or rewatch an old favorite.
While Duffer Brothers-created series has a higher rate of repeat viewing, that hardly spells disaster for The Witcher and Bridgerton. Both shows have been renewed for second seasons, with the former’s set to premiere this December and the latter’s already in production.
A fourth season of Stranger Things is also on the docket, with a premiere date planned for 2022. So if you love fancy gowns, fantastical monsters, or '80s flavored sci-fi, it’s probably a good idea to hold onto that Netflix sub. Because - let’s be honest - we all need to know what happened to Hopper.
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