- Netflix said on Tuesday that “The Witcher” season one was watched by 76 million households in its first four weeks of release and is on track to be the streamer’s biggest first season ever.
- But Netflix did change its viewership metrics – it now counts a view if an account watches at least two minutes of a movie or TV show episode, as opposed to at least 70% (which was its previous standard).
- In its letter to investors, Netflix compared “The Witcher” against Disney Plus’ “The Mandalorian” in Google search trends.
- The company missed its subscriber growth forecast in the US, while exceeding expectations internationally.
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Netflix’s “The Witcher” will be the streamer’s biggest TV show premiere of all time.
The hit fantasy show was watched by 76 million households in the first month of its release (it dropped December 20) and is on track to become the streaming giant’s biggest first season ever, Netflix said during its 2019 fourth-quarter earnings report on Tuesday.
But there’s a caveat: Netflix updated its viewership metrics. Now the company counts a view if an account watches at least two minutes of a program. Before, Netflix counted a view if an account watched 70% of a movie or an episode of a TV series. It said in the report that two minutes is “long enough to indicate the choice was intentional.”
“Given that we now have titles with widely varying lengths – from short episodes (e.g. Special at around 15 minutes) to long films (e.g. The Highwaymen at 132 minutes), we believe that reporting households viewing a title based on 70% of a single episode of a series or of an entire film, which we have been doing, makes less sense,” Netflix said.
Netflix said “The Witcher” was its second most popular of 2019, behind “Stranger Things.” Audience demand data from Parrot Analytics, provided to Business Insider, backs up how popular it is. The show is currently the most in-demand TV series in the world, passing Disney Plus’ “Star Wars” series, “The Mandalorian.”
Netflix itself even compared the show to “The Mandalorian” during its investor letter, using Google search trends data, and providing a chart that showed that “The Witcher” was trending higher after its release than “The Mandalorian” was during any point after its release.
“In Q4, despite the big debut of Disney Plus and the launch of Apple TV Plus, our viewing per membership grew both globally and in the US on a year over year basis, consistent with recent quarters,” Netflix said.
However, Netflix still missed subscriber growth expectations in the US during the quarter as Disney Plus launched, adding 420,000 paid net subscribers during Q4, below its forecast of of 600,000 (it exceeded expectations internationally, though, adding 8.33 million subscribers outside of the US).
- Read more of Business Insider’s coverage of “The Witcher”
- Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ creator on the gruelling 178-day production, what to expect in season 2, and why the show’s viral song is actually ‘horrific’
- The battle between Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ and Disney Plus’ ‘The Mandalorian’ previews what’s to come in the streaming war
- Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ creator teased what to expect in season 2 from each main character
- Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ creator thinks the show’s viral song is ‘horrific’ when you listen to the lyrics
- Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ creator explained her original pitch for the show that was ultimately scrapped
- The top 8 TV shows that fans of Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ are watching
- Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ dethroned ‘The Mandalorian’ as the biggest TV series in the world
- Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ is one of the biggest shows in the US despite poor reviews from critics
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