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Netflix’s analysis of consumer viewing and the local push

MUMBAI: The most-devoured genre in India is sci-fi, Netflix’s analysis of consumer viewing showed.

The shows Indians love are very similar to those in other markets and the top ones are Netflix Originals like ‘Master of None’, ‘Narcos’, ‘Marvel’s Daredevil’ and ‘Marvel’s Jessica Jones’.

“Great stories transcend borders—we may be different culturally but we all seem to love a great story. This is seen with ‘Narcos’, a big production largely in Spanish about Pablo Escobar, and ‘Making a Murderer’, a legal docu series about a murder in a small Wisconsin town no one has heard of. Both ranked among the top 10 most-viewed content in nearly all markets where Netflix is present,” Netflix chief communications officer Jonathan Friedland told TelevisionPost.com.

Netflix subscribers in India are more likely to devour the whole series, including ‘Narcos’, ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, ‘Marvel’s Jessica Jones’ and ‘Bloodline’ (savoured globally). Subscribers in India devour series at a faster pace—three days vs the global average of four days.

This is what the savour and devour scene looks like In India:

Savor netflix binge

Devour netflix binge

Examining viewing habits around the world, Netflix has found that when members are focused on finishing a TV series, they watch a little over two hours a day to complete a season. When organising series in relation to this benchmark, interesting patterns emerge, ranging from high-energy narratives that are devoured to thought-provoking dramas that are savoured.

Binge watching being the new norm, Netflix has unveiled ‘The Binge Scale’, which reveals the shows subscribers devour or savour. Netflix has realised that subscribers around the world are making their own rules when it comes to watching TV. Instead of one episode per week, subscribers choose to binge-watch their way through a series—that is, on average, finishing an entire season in one week.

Series like ‘Sense8’, ‘Orphan Black’ and ‘The 100’ grab viewers and, as The Binge Scale shows, make it hard to pull away. The classic elements of horror and thrillers go straight for the gut, pushing the placement of series like ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘American Horror Story’ and ‘The Fall’ towards the devour end of the scale. Likewise, comedies with a dramatic bent, such as ‘Orange is the New Black’, ‘Nurse Jackie’ and ‘Grace and Frankie’, seem to tickle our fancy and make it easy to say ‘just one more’.

It is no surprise that complex narratives, like that of ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Bloodline’, are indulged at an unhurried pace. Not that viewers take care to appreciate the details of dramas set in bygone eras, like ‘Peaky Blinders’ and ‘Mad Men’. Maybe less obvious are irreverent comedies like ‘BoJack Horseman’, ‘Love’ and ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’. Nevertheless, the social commentary that powers their densely layered comedy allows them to be savoured.

“As The Binge Scale indicates, the viewing experience of a series can range from the emotional to the thought-provoking. Netflix helps you to find a series to binge no matter your mood or occasion, and the freedom to watch that series at your own pace—whether that’s to appreciate the drama of ‘Bloodline’ or power through ‘Orange is the New Black’,” said Netflix VP of original content Cindy Holland.


Netflix analysed more than 100 serialised TV series across more than 190 countries between October 2015 and May 2016. The research examined member completion of the first season for all series. Data was only included for accounts that fully completed the season. Completion rates were organised into days and hours. The global median days to complete the first season of these series was five days. The median hours per session for completers overall was two hours and 10 minutes. Series viewed less than two hours per day were identified as ‘savoured’. Series viewed more than two hours per day were identified as ‘devoured’. The series were not restricted by launch dates, runtime, or the number of episodes. Where a series falls on The Netflix Binge Scale is not related to viewership.

Subscriber additions

Starting 2016 at 75 million subscribers, Internet TV network Netflix has accumulated over 81.5 million viewers.

“In Q1 2016, we had net additions amounting to a record 6.74 million. That brings the total to 81.5 million members, and 42 per cent of these members are outside of the US,” Friedland said.

Expanding content portfolio

In 2016, Netflix plans to spend about $5 billion on programming rights. “This includes more than 30 new Netflix original series. That’s more than one full new season of a series every other week. Additionally, we’re expanding our original film initiative and launching more than 10 films exclusively on Netflix in 2016. We also are adding more kids programming and documentaries,” Friedland said.

The local push

Over time, Netflix aims to be an enduring channel where subscribers in India will find hours and hours of quality entertainment through a global catalogue. There will also be a slate of local content for global audiences.

“On the local front, we are pursuing recent Bollywood titles, notable indie films, memorable classic Bollywood titles and the best of regional cinema (Tamil, Gujarati, Punjabi and Marathi). Our goal is to bring Indian cinema to not only all regions of India but to the world, so you’ll find Indian film titles in all countries in which Netflix exists, accessible to all our over 81 million members,” Friedland elaborated.

Jonathan-Friedland“’Brahman Naman’, a coming-of-age comedy by celebrated Indian director Q, will be available globally only on Netflix on 7 July. ‘Raman Raghav 2.0′ is also among the titles that Netflix picked up at Cannes this year as an exclusive on Netflix,” he added.

As reported earlier by TelevisionPost.com, Netflix announced its first local show from India based on the book ‘Sacred Games’ by Vikram Chandra. Phantom Films is making the show.

“’Sacred Games’ is very much about what it means for us to bring a great story on a global platform like Netflix. Great stories transcend borders,” Friedland said.

In terms of the criteria for choosing local shows, the company looks for talented storytellers with a strong track record. An original series is successful when it draws more satisfied viewers than an equivalent piece of licensed content.

“We’re already making series and films in Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, Italy, Mexico and the UK, and are always on the lookout for new and compelling projects that would appeal to a global audience,” said Friedland.

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