Here’s What Netflix Means When It Says More Than 45 Million People Watched ‘Bird Box’ – TheWrap

Here’s What Netflix Means When It Says More Than 45 Million People Watched ‘Bird Box’ – TheWrap

Netflix garnered attention last weekend when it announced that its Sandra Bullock-led film “Bird Box” was viewed by more than 45 million different accounts during its first 7 days on the platform, which drew both cheers and snickers from many.

The streaming giant resists releasing numerical viewing figures for its shows and movies, except for carefully curated ones like this 45 million figure for “Bird Box.” That causes intrigue and skepticism whenever they decide to actually put out a numerical figure on anything, which is what they did in the below tweet.

Took off my blindfold this morning to discover that 45,037,125 Netflix accounts have already watched Bird Box — best first 7 days ever for a Netflix film!

— Netflix Film (@NetflixFilm) December 28, 2018

Also Read: Netflix’s Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos Will Each Earn $31.5 Million in 2019 After Big Raises

But hidden in that 45 million figure is something else that has become more important to Netflix: How long are people watching Netflix?

Netflix counts a “view” for its movies as an account having watched at least 70 percent of the film’s runtime, including the credits. Because “Bird Box” is 124 minutes long, that means Netflix is saying over 45 million different accounts watched at least 87 minutes of the drama.

And each of those different accounts was only included once in Netflix’s tally, even if “Bird Box” was watched by three different people at three different times on the same account.

Also Read: Here Are All the References We’ve Found That Tie ‘Bandersnatch’ to the Rest of ‘Black Mirror’ Universe

While that number may not be attractive to the filmmakers, who probably want people to see their whole movie, it’s important to Netflix. For the streamer, it’s just as crucial to make sure its customers are finding something on their platform that is worth watching enough to keep paying their monthly fee. After all, the “Black Mirror” film “Bandersnatch” with its choose-your-own-adventure narrative that Netflix released last Friday is designed to keep subscribers watching (or playing) it multiple times, as TheWrap did.

For Netflix and other tech companies, including Facebook and Snap, “time spent on platform” is a key figure to investors, who prioritize growth over all else. However, when it comes to time spent on the platform, Netflix doesn’t release those numbers either — except for reporting in 2017 that its average viewing time on the platform had increased 9 percent from the prior year.

But CEO Reed Hastings noted the importance of that metric. “We’re still a small fraction of every society’s overall viewing,” he said during the company’s 2nd quarter earnings call earlier this summer. “So I think there’s still room to go there.”

Also Read: ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ Has a Secret Ending With a Crazy Easter Egg

Marketing insight firm GBH Insights told CNBC in July that their own research found that the average Netflix customer spends 10 hours per week on its platform, compared to 5 hours for Amazon and Hulu.

However, Netflix is trying to fashion itself as a major player in the film industry, having already cornered a major part of the TV space. But touting that over 45 million people watched most of a movie seems like a strange way to court filmmakers and actors who’ve plied their trade at the box office.

Also Read: Here Are All the References We’ve Found That Tie ‘Bandersnatch’ to the Rest of ‘Black Mirror’ Universe

After all it’s much easier to gauge success when you put a numerical value on it. For example, Warner Bros. knows that “Aquaman,” which has topped the box office in its first two weekends, has brought in more than $750 million globally.

That’s a finite value they can place on it, and we’re pretty sure those ticket buyers stayed through the whole movie.

‘Bandersnatch’ to ‘National Anthem’: Every ‘Black Mirror’ Ranked, From Good to Mind-Blowing (Photos)

  • Black Mirror Bandersnatch

    With the arrival of “Bandersnatch,” a “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style exploration of free will, we decided to re-rank every episode of “Black Mirror,” going back to the first episode, “National Anthem.” There are no bad “Black Mirror” episodes, so we ranked them from good to mind-blowing.


  • Black Mirror The Waldo Moment

    20. Season 2, Episode 3: “The Waldo Moment”

    Many have made the now-trite observation that this episode, about a cartoon bear who insults his way into higher office, predicted the rise of Donald Trump. OK. This episode does a good job of again showing that we bend too easily before the loud and obnoxious. But “Black Mirror” usually had more novel things to say.


  • Black Mirror Hated in the Nation

    19. Season 3, Episode 6: “Hated in the Nation”

    It’s disappointing that “Black Mirror” Season 3 — one of the best TV seasons ever — ended with a story that feels as little like “Sharknado.” Great acting, though, and it can be taken as a friendly reminder not to cancel people over tweets.


  • Black Mirror White Bear

    18. Season 2, Episode 2: “White Bear”

    Sure, this one’s scary, but it’s just scary. There’s some “Purge”-quality social commentary here, and that’s nice. But “Black Mirror” is usually smarter. (Curiously, “Bandersnatch” calls back to it aggressively.)


  • Black Mirror Be Right Back

    17. Season 2, Episode 1: “Be Right Back”

    We recommend this episode, and all the ones that follow, with zero reservations. Starring Hayley Atwell and Domhnall Gleeson, “Be Right Back” is another aching look at the qualities that make us us. It’s one of many “Black Mirror” episodes that could have been a Best Picture contender if it were a movie. In fact, it shares some similarities with the 2014 Best Picture nominee “Her.”


  • Fifteen Million Merits Black Mirror

    16. Season 1, Episode 2: “Fifteen Million Merits”

    This twist on “American Idol”-style mobs is gorgeously acted by Jessica Brown Findlay and a pre-“Get Out” Daniel Kaluuya, and their chemistry helps sell familiar lessons about literal cycles of exploitation. We think about this episode every time we ride an exercise bike, which probably isn’t often enough.


  • black mirror the national anthem

    15. Season 1, Episode 1: “National Anthem”

    This mean little story feels all the meaner because it’s so easy to imagine it happening in real life. It’s a perfect first episode, because there’s no better test of whether “Black Mirror” is for you.


  • Black Mirror Playtest

    14. Season 3, Episode 2: “Playtest”

    Most of us will never get trapped in a digital haunted house, but the health situation portrayed here will feel achingly real to many viewers. The scariest part of the episode is the realest.


  • Black Mirror Season 4 Black Museum

    13. Season 4, Episode 6: “Black Museum”

    “Black Museum” references every past episode in the anthology, but the ruthlessness with which it merges three vignettes into one nasty story. Letitia Wright and Douglas Hodge counter the ugliness with some beautiful acting.

  • arkangel black mirror poster

    12. Season 4, Episode 2: “Arkangel”

    This episode has the best setup of any “Black Mirror,” and seems like it will be a savage critique of helicopter parenting. It doesn’t escalate as heartlessly as we expected, but maybe that’s a good thing.

  • Black Mirror Season 4 Metalhead

    11. Season 4, Episode 5: Metalhead

    Hey, Alexa: Is this episode just a stripped-down survival story? Or a grim warning that our reliance on Amazon is a slippery slope into Terminator dogs chasing us down across a hellscape  Earth? Just asking.

  • 10. Season 4, Episode 3: “Crocodile”

    If Alfred Hitchcock had done a “Black Mirror” episode, it would go pretty much like this. A frosty blonde antihero (Andrea Riseborough) tries to outsmart a relentless insurance adjuster. A rodent gets involved.

  • Jon Hamm Black Mirror netflix weekend binge watch

    9. Season 2, Episode 4: “White Christmas”

    If you’re dreaming of a black Christmas, this showcase for madman Jon Hamm combines two imaginary technologies — one of which allows you to “block” people in real life — to tell one of grayest stories ever told. Sentiment-free, it’s the most “Black Mirror” episode of “Black Mirror.”


  • black mirror hang the dj cynical

    8. Season 4, Episode 4: “Hang the DJ”

    Boy and girl meet cute in The System, which is  designed to find “true matches.” If you and your better half are fighting over complicated wedding plans and too-high expectations, stop and watch this episode and remember you don’t owe anything to anyone but each other. 

    “Hang the DJ” is probably the sweetest episode of “Black Mirror,” and is therefore not our favorite.

  • black mirror shut up and dance alex lawther camera

    7. Season 3, Episode 3: “Shut Up and Dance”

    No episode of “Black Mirror” will leave you feeling worse about humanity than this one. The ultimate prank is on you. Oh, also? It could happen. Similar things have already happened.


  • Black Mirror USS Callister

    6. Season 4, Episode 1: USS Callister

    This one makes the Top 5 on sweep and ambition alone.  And it’s one of many episodes that remind us to never let anyone make a digital copy of your soul. Stars Jesse Plemons and ‎Cristin Milioti should be in everything.

  • black mirror season 3 trump inauguration nazi

    5. Season 3, Episode 1: “Nosedive”

    This is the episode that probably hits closest to home. The Bryce Dallas Howard story is a perfect sendup of our obsession with social-media approval. As soon as it ended we tweeted how much we loved it, then waited to see if anyone would retweet us, and… why didn’t they? What’s wrong with them? What’s wrong with us? 


  • Bandersnatch Black Mirror

    4. Standalone movie: “Bandersnatch” 

    By far the most ambitious “Black Mirror,” “Bandersnatch” does something never before attempted in serious drama, using the “Choose Your Own Adventure” format to ask provocative questions about free will and power. Part film, part video game, it’s incredibly impressive, and builds a complicated, stunning alternate-reality 1984 that we’re still navigating. But the next three episodes on this list are even better at combining hard questions with emotion.    


  • Men Against Fire Black Mirror

    3. Episode 3, Season 5: “Men Against Fire”

    We don’t say this lightly: This episodes stands alongside “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “Full Metal Jacket” as one of the best stories about how war really works. (Even though the speech about how most soldiers don’t fire their weapons might be totally wrong.)


  • Black Mirror

    2. Season 3, Episode 4: “San Junipero”

    No other story better captures the 1980s’ pulsing mix of hope, heartache, cruelty and perfect pop music. It’s another episode that could have been a Best Picture, and it may be the best single episode of television at capturing raw emotion. (It also feels joyously defiant that this story of colorblind LGBT love was filmed in South Africa, a former bastion of government-mandated bigotry. 


  • Black Mirror

    1. Season 1, Episode 3: “The Entire History of You”

    If you’ve ever been in a relationship with anyone who’s been in another relationship, this one will crush you. Should life be lived, or remembered? And can you separate the living from the remembering? We think of this episode every time our memories fail us — or serve us much too well.


Is the latest “Black Mirror” installment one of the best?

With the arrival of “Bandersnatch,” a “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style exploration of free will, we decided to re-rank every episode of “Black Mirror,” going back to the first episode, “National Anthem.” There are no bad “Black Mirror” episodes, so we ranked them from good to mind-blowing.


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