Fascinating Netflix study reveals how long it takes to get hooked on a TV series

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Sep 24, 2015, 11:09 AM EDT

The folks at Netflix typically keep their data locked up tight, but the streaming company has finally pulled back the curtain to reveal some fascinating trends about the way we watch television.

The company has released some sampling data that digs into exactly how many episodes it takes for a viewer to get “hooked” on a television show. Turns out, it’s almost never after just watching a pilot episode. The study analyzed 12 different successful shows, with  genre fare represented by the service’s own Daredevil, along with A&E’s Bates Motel. In addition to those entries, the study veers across popular dramas (House of Cards, Mad Men) and sitcoms (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, How I Met Your Mother).

The findings noted that it typically takes 3-5 episodes before a viewer is fully hooked on a series, which (surprise, surprise!) backs up Netflix’s typical strategy of dropping entire seasons at once. Though it might seem obvious coming from Netflix, it’s hard to dispute the data. Most shows take a few episodes to pick up steam, and it seems most viewers give a show a few hours before deciding whether to continue on or give up.

“Given the precious nature of primetime slots on traditional TV, a series pilot is arguably the most important point in the life of the show,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix. “However, in our research of more than 20 shows across 16 markets, we found that no one was ever hooked on the pilot. This gives us confidence that giving our members all episodes at once is more aligned with how fans are made.”

Do you think the data is an accurate representation of the average TV viewer (or you, for that matter)? How many episodes do you give a show before fully committing it to the top of the DVR?

(Via /Film, Netflix)