Netflix’s fourth quarter 2019 earnings are here, therefore are the first official numbers for Netflix’s most current streaming hit The Witcher The company says the series was viewed by 76 million households, making it the most-watched first season of tv ever for Netflix. That’s according to Netflix’s newly revealed definition of “seen,” which it changed from “enjoyed 70 percent of a single episode of a series” to anybody who “picked to watch and did expect a minimum of 2 minutes.”
In explaining the new metric, Netflix keeps in mind that the two-minute time period is indicated to be “long enough to indicate the option was deliberate,” and it states that it follows similar metrics utilized by BBC’s iPlayer, YouTube, and The New York Times‘ measurements of page views. However the reasoning behind the modification is apparent: to juice viewer numbers, with Netflix acknowledging that the new two-minute metric is “about 35%higher on average than the prior metric.”
To put that number in point of view, two minutes of The Witcher is less time than it takes to reach the opening credits of the first episode; the action-packed cold opening is coincidentally 2 minutes and 16 seconds long. By Netflix’s new metric, anyone who saw just the opening scene of the episode (or 3.2 percent of the overall runtime of the episode, which is itself one of 8 episodes) is now counted as a view for the whole season.
And obviously that’s enough for Netflix to invest in the program for the long haul, as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said The Witcher is a “huge new franchise that we’ll establish season after season” in a video interview today. It was restored for a 2nd season prior to season one aired, however Hastings’ comments seem to suggest that it will be a multi-season show.
The company likewise announced that 6 Underground from director Michael Bay and starring Ryan Reynolds was seen by 83 million households in its first 4 weeks (utilizing the company’s brand-new metric). By contrast, Netflix expected The Irishman to hit just 40 million views in its first month out, although that doesn’t consider the 35 percent boost 6 Underground‘s numbers get from the new two-minute metric.
Update January 21 st, 7: 05 PM ET: Included quote about The Witcher’s future from CEO Reed Hastings.