April showers show Netflix binging powers: Top ten binge-watched shows

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

Netflix is notorious for guarding its streaming data as closely as an end-of-season cliffhanger, but, (spoiler alert), we’ve got the inside scoop. With record breaking premiers and the cultural acceptance of binge-watching, we wanted to see which shows were the most viewed this spring.

We turned to our 100-million consumer panel to analyze online streaming in the United States, looking into what is being watched, when, and for how long. We found that Bob’s Burgers is the most binge-worthy show, and that the amount of Netflix viewers and binge watchers has grown by 14 percent.

We suspect two main causes for this growth. First, a freak snowstorm hit the east coast the second weekend of April, forcing many to park it on the couch and watch Netflix. Second, Netflix released more than 80 titles in April, including the fifth season of Bob’s Burgers, and the second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

What are the most watched Netflix Originals? What are the most binge worthy titles? Does the exclusivity of a “Netflix Original” actually drive binge watching? Read on for our full findings.

Top ten binged shows on Netflix

We analyzed consumer streaming behavior on Netflix in April and compared it to past activity to detect binge-watching and viewership trends. As in our previous Netflix viewership analysis, we defined two behavioral cohorts to analyze: binge watchers and show viewers. Binge watchers view at least five episodes a day, and show viewers watch a minimum of 20 mins a day. Our high level finding is that Netflix streaming has grown in the U.S., as the amount of active users grew by 13 percent and the amount of binge watchers grew by 16 percent since last month.

Bob’s Burgers took first place for binge watchers and overall viewers. This show accounted for more than a fifth of the Netflix activity in the U.S., and grew its viewer base and binge watchers by 232 percent MoM. This growth is in line with our findings that Netflix viewership spikes dramatically following a new season release, as season five of the show premiered on April 1st. As for the rest, the usual suspects made the cut, including The Office, Friends, Family Guy and Futurama, however their viewer bases and amount of binge watchers they attracted remained relatively stable month-over-month. None of these shows had new seasons for viewers, and there’s only so many repeats you can watch.

Top 10 Binged Shows

Top 10 Viewed Shows

# Title % of Top 10 Title % of Top 10
1 Bob’s Burgers 20.4% Bob’s Burgers 21.5%
2 The Office (U.S.) 12.7% The Office (U.S.) 13.3%
3 Family Guy 11.2% Archer 10.6%
4 Futurama 10.3% Friends 9.3%
5 Friends 9.6% Futurama 9.1%
6 American Dad! 8.4% Family Guy 9%
7 How I Met Your Mother 7.6% Brickleberry 7.4%
8 Brickleberry 7.4% American Dad! 6.6%
9 Archer 6.4% How I Met Your Mother 6.6%
10 Parks and Recreation 6.1% Parks and Recreation 6.6%

How Netflix Original shows compare

Netflix changed the streaming industry in many ways, including by offering its own original programming, and extending the shelf life of once cancelled cable programs such as Trailer Park Boys. There are two main advantages for Netflix Originals’ viewership. First, in-house originals like House of Cards are exclusive to the platform, and their release schedules are optimized for binge-watching. Secondly, every time the service picks up a previously cancelled program, such as Arrested Development, they pick up the built in audience as well.

We found that the amount of people binge-watching Netflix Originals grew by 27 percent month-over-month. Trailer Park Boys took first place for viewers and binge watchers, accounting for 33 percent and 22 percent of the U.S. Netflix Original binging and viewing activity, respectively. Trailer Park Boys’ recent popularity is likely due to its tenth season release on March 28th.

Top 10 Binged Netflix Originals Top 10 Viewed Netflix Originals
# Title % of top 10 Title % of top 10
1 Trailer Park Boys 33% Trailer Park Boys 22%
2 Unbreakable Kimmy 24.3% Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 21.5%
3 Star Wars: The Clone Wars 16.7% Star Wars: The Clone Wars 13%
4 Arrested Development 16% Arrested Development 12.3%
5 BoJack Horseman 3.2% House of Cards 8.8%
6 Grace and Frankie 2.3% Marvel’s Daredevil 7.2%
7 Degrassi: Next Class 1.4% Orange is the New Black 5%
8 Master of None 1.1% Marvel’s Jessica Jones 4.6%
9 F Is For Family 1.1% BoJack Horseman 2.8%
10 Dawn of the Croods 0.9% Longmire 2.7%

Bottom line: Here’s our synopsis of the April pay TV season: bingers love cartoons, comedy, and new content. You’d expect spring time to bring declining viewing rates, but the 16 percent increase in binging and 13 percent increase in viewership say otherwise. The freak east coast snowstorm, new seasons, and an undying love for your favorite shows kept Netflix streaming rates strong. We’ll see how May’s viewing data matches up, and report back next month.  

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