Netflix is an 11 billion USD company, and is frequently cited as an example of a 'disruptor'. Inspired by a tweet from Netflix - "Sleep is my greatest enemy", we wondered; what and who is keeping people awake at night?
Netflix: who and what is keeping people awake at night
Netflix: what and who is
keeping people awake at night
Research… Total Search Labs (TSL)
Netflix is an 11 billion USD company, and is frequently cited as an example
of a ‘disruptor’. Inspired by a tweet from Netflix - “Sleep is my greatest
enemy” - we wondered; what & who is keeping people awake at night?
Data tells us a lot about people’s behaviours and interests. Search data from
Google, is arguably the richest way to understand people’s intent (before,
during or after a show). Using Google Trends, filtered to the last 7 days, we
extracted hourly trends in searches for Netflix’s top 50 television shows.
With Facebook having over 1 billion users, we looked to the ad platform to
reveal more about the demographics of people.
Using a combination of searches and interests, we were able to understand
‘what’ & ‘who’ is keeping awake at night. United Kingdom, only.
Netflix's true competitor really is sleep; its primetime viewing is between
00:00 & 02:00, well beyond peoples recommended bedtime.
Beyond sleep deficit, this data reveals more about Netflix than we knew
1. Netflix need not compete with linear
Netflix may not necessarily compete with linear; there is enough time and
attention for both linear and streaming to co-exist.
People are simply finding more time to watch shows, eating into their sleep
2. Netflix has two core audiences
Netflix has two clear target audiences; 18 - 24 y/o and over 25, where there
is no overlap in viewership between both.
25 - 45 y/o have similarities with 46 - 65 y/o, but we suspect the latter
aren't a target and merely share similar viewership patterns.
3. Females are Netflix's primary viewers
Similar to social media, where females are the most active, viewership on
Netflix from females is greater across nearly all genres.
Netflix claim that age, gender or geography should be “…on the garbage
heap”. While gender may not be a core differentiator, how males vs. females
behave and feel are significantly different. This may be relatable to findings
of late-night primetime viewership.
Netflix owns the night
Primetime television, between 20:00 – 23:00, is the traditional peak for
linear viewership. Using hourly data from Google search, we found that
people watch 59% of shows between 19:00 – 04:00, with late night viewing
peaking between 00:00 – 02:00.
One could argue that 00:00 – 02:00 is the new, modern-era of primetime;
evidence that Netflix has truly disrupted linear viewership. Alternatively, it
may also depict how people use the streaming service; shifting from linear
to digital late at night.
Primetime more pronounced
Removing the average from the data,
primetime viewing becomes more
pronounced; highlighting that Netflix
attracts late-night viewership.
Aggregated searches for top 50 tv shows on Netflix
Brooklyn Nine-Nine tops late viewership
Exploring the top 50 of Netflix television shows (only) that
people are watching late at night (00:00 – 02:00), Brooklyn
Nine-Nine is the show that’s most likely to take our viewing
into the wee hours, followed closely by Money Heist.
‘Action’ retains our late-night viewing
Breaking down the shows by genre,
‘action’ shows like the Marvel series are
most-likely to keep us awake late at
night holding users viewing until
03:00, and even 04:00.
‘Comedy’ is second, only one hour
behind ‘action’, holding our viewership
‘Crime’, ‘drama’ and ‘adventure’ show close correlation of viewing between
around 21:00 – 23:00, the traditional peak.
‘Animation’, which includes children's favourite ‘Paw Patrol’,
reveals that children are watching Netflix before school between
06:00 – 08:00.
Table of viewing by hour, highlighting anything above average:
Kids watch ‘Paw
school 06:00 –
8+ ratings control the night
Looking at iMDB ratings for shows, we expected to see later viewership
associated with shows that are rated higher; that’s true in part, however,
rated 8 & 9 shows are equal in viewership between 20:00 – 23:00.
Rated 8 shows are more likely to retain
our viewership greater until 01:00,
where rated 9 shows begin to drop-off.
‘Blacklist’ (left) rated 8 & ‘Breaking Bad’ (right) rated 9
Runtime encourages late viewership
The longer the runtime, the later we’re likely to stay up watching. Shows
that are 60+ mins have greater late-night viewership than any other
Notably, when we explore averages of runtimes, its clearer how the runtime
affects peoples viewership; people are more likely to watch shows with a
runtime of 20 – 30 mins during 05:00 – 18:00, with the least amount of
viewership at lunchtime.
Evenings are restricted to shows 40+ mins, where there is a sharp decline
in viewing of shows between 40 – 60 mins after midnight.
Primary viewership is female
Using interest data from Facebook, we’re able to understand more about
the demographic of viewership. Apart from ‘documentaries’ and
‘animation’, which genres include the fewest shows like ‘MythBusters’ &
‘Rick & Morty’, females claim primary viewership for most genres.
Unpacking the averages across genres
(right), we see clearer delimitation as to
which shows females vs. males prefer.
‘Dramas’ have predominantly female viewership
Notably, females prefer ‘dramas’ with the greatest number of
shows swaying to the female demographic.
‘Pretty Little Liars’
audience is 90%>
Gender split in interest
Exploring which shows are preferred by different genders:
18 -24 y/o represent one in three
Broadly, 18 – 24 y/o are 1/3rd of Netflix audience, over-indexing in ‘drama’
where ‘Pretty Little Things’, ‘Stranger Things’, ‘Supernatural’ & ‘The
Originals’ – where they represent 47% of viewership.
Figure 1% represents above average within gender
Top 10 shows by age
Knowing that adoption of Netflix subscriptions varies by age, we explored
the most popular shows with key segments:
Comparing the viewership preferences of different ages, it’s clear than
Netflix knows that different ages have clearly defined shows viewership,
although claiming otherwise: "Geography, age and gender? We put that on
the garbage heap…", Netflxi VP of Product Todd Yellin:
Shows are either geared towards two age groups, 18 – 24 y/o and 25 – 45+
y/o, where 18 – 24 y/o share nearly no “core” viewership with any other
25 – 45 & 46 – 65 y/o then have more common viewership than they do
Interest is weighted from Facebook Ads
Summary of findings
Based on our findings, we’d like to highlight the following observations:
People watch 59% of shows between 19:00 – 04:00
Late night viewing peaking between 00:00 – 02:00
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the show people watch late at night
‘Action’ shows are most-likely to keep us awake late at night
Children are watching before school between 06:00 – 08:00
8 & 9 rated shows are equal in viewership between 20:00 – 23:00
Rated 8 shows are more likely to retain our viewership greater
Shows 60+ mins long have greater late viewership than any other
Shows with a 20 – 30 min runtime are viewed during 05:00 – 18:00
Evenings are restricted to shows 40+ mins
‘Dramas’ have predominantly female viewership
Broadly, 18 – 24 y/o are 1/3rd of Netflix audience
18 – 24 y/o represent 47% of viewership for ‘Pretty Little Things’,
‘Stranger Things’, ‘Supernatural’ & ‘The Originals’
Shows are either geared towards two age groups
18 – 24 y/o share nearly no “core” viewership with any other
25 - 65 y/o have more common viewership than they do different.
Digitas is The Connected Marketing Agency, relentlessly committed to help
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Total Search Labs (TSL) is designed to keep Digitas clients ahead of the
marketplace in search understanding, usage and performance.
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