2017 Starts Big for Netflix: Americans’ streaming behavior analyzed

 In Behavioral Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Consumer Behavior, Featured, Popular, Site Analysis, Streaming, Top 10, Trends

Netflix viewership made big gains in January, with overall audience up 40 percent over December and 38 percent above the monthly average for 2016. Netflix Originals also had a huge January, with viewership up 35 percent month-over-month and 28 percent over the 2016 monthly average. However, while increased streaming of the usual suspects drove the overall viewership spike in January, new content was behind Netflix Originals’ audience growth. Read on for our full online streaming analysis.

Top ten shows on Netflix in January

Every month, we analyze Americans’ Netflix streaming behavior to identify the top ten shows and MoM viewership trends. As always, we focused our analysis on two distinct behavioral cohorts: “Binge watchers” who watch at least five episodes of a show a day, and “casual viewers” who watch a minimum of 20 minutes of a show in a day. This month, as in the 12 months before, we found that sitcoms reign supreme, as all the top ten shows binged and watched on the subscription video on demand (SVoD) platform were 30-minute comedies.

In January, overall Netflix viewership increased by 40 percent, with binge-watching up 36 percent MoM. When comparing the activity of this January to last January, we find a four percent year-over-year increase in viewership and six percent increase in binge-watching. Increased popularity of Family Guy, The Office, Friends and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which accounted together for more than half of the top ten show streaming, drove January’s increases.

Friends and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia saw the largest increases over December, growing their audiences by 50 percent and 152 percent, respectively. In fact, our data shows that casual viewing of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia in January was 2.6 times the monthly average of 2016, and Friends streaming was 76 percent higher than last year’s monthly average.

Family Guy is still in the lead for binge-watching activity in January, claiming first place for the eighth consecutive month, and accounting for 16 percent of the activity. While still in the lead, this show displayed the least growth MoM among the top ten binged shows, up only 27 percent over December. With Family Guy also losing share of casual viewership in January, falling to third place in the top ten most-watched list, we may be seeing the end of Family Guy’s supreme reign.

For the second month, The Office is the most popular show streamed on Netflix, accounting for 17 percent of  the top ten show streaming. Riding on January’s audience increases, Friends was the second most popular show on the streaming platform, accounting for 13 percent of the activity. This is the first time since we began analyzing Netflix streaming last year that Friends made the top two.

Top 10 Binged Shows Top 10 Watched Shows
# Title % of Top 10 Title % of Top 10
1 Family Guy 16% The Office 17%
2 The Office 13% Friends 13%
3 Friends 12% Family Guy 13%
4 Bob’s Burgers 11% It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 12%
5 American Dad! 10% Bob’s Burgers 9%
6 Futurama 10% How I Met Your Mother 8%
7 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 9% Futurama 8%
8 How I Met Your Mother 8% Parks and Recreation 8%
9 Parks and Recreation 6% American Dad! 7%
10 That ‘70s Show 5% That ‘70s Show 5%

It’s interesting that while both Fuller House and Trollhunters made the top twenty lists in December, Fuller House fell from both lists in January while Trollhunters not only remained on both, but actually grew its audience by 26 percent. Perhaps Trollhunterslate December release is the cause, or possibly the fact that it debuted on Netflix, rather than released a new season, resulted in a more lengthy audience surge.

Top ten Netflix Originals in January

In January, causal viewership of Netflix original programs increased by 35 percent of December, representing a 3 percent YoY increase in the streaming of the top ten original programs. Binge-watching of original programs was up 24 percent over December, representing a 4 percent YoY increase in binge-watching of the leading ten Netflix Originals.

January’s growth was mostly due to increased activity around three shows, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Voltron: Legendary Defender and Arrested Development, which accounted together for 30 percent of the activity around the top ten original programs. A 54 percent MoM increase drove Star Wars: The Clone Wars to second place for binge-watching, and third place for casual viewing in January. And the second season of Voltron: Legendary Defender, launched on January 20th, drove the show into both top ten lists, accounting for 10 percent of the binge-watching and casual viewing of the leading ten original programs.

As for January’s leaders, Trollhunters claimed the lead for binge-watching, dethroning December’s leader Fuller House, and accounting for 20 percent of the binge-watching of the top ten original programs. A Series of Unfortunate Events debuted on Netflix on January 13th and instantly became the most popular original program with 21 percent of the activity.

What else? Degrassi: Next Class accounted for six percent of the binge-watching and casual viewing in January, following the release of its third season. And One Day at a Time debuted on the streaming platform on January 6th and accounted for five percent of the binge-watching and six percent of the casual viewership.

Top 10 Binged Shows Top 10 Watched Shows
# Title % of Top 10 Title % of Top 10
1 Trollhunters 20% A Series of Unfortunate Events 21%
2 Star Wars: The Clone Wars 18% Trollhunters 15%
3 Trailer Park Boys 13% Star Wars: The Clone Wars 12%
4 Arrested Development 12% Voltron: Legendary Defender 10%
5 Voltron: Legendary Defender 10% Fuller House 9%
6 BoJack Horseman 7% Arrested Development 8%
7 Fuller House 7% Trailer Park Boys 7%
8 Degrassi: Next Class 6% One Day at a Time 6%
9 One Day at a Time 5% Degrassi: Next Class 6%
10 The Seven Deadly Sins 3% Travelers 6%

Bottom line: Last month Netflix viewership bounced back from November’s audience losses. January’s growth, however, is evidence of YoY growth in overall activity. But there were down notes, as Family Guy and Fuller House took significant audience losses. Can February improve on a great January? Join us next month to find!

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