Holidays more interesting than Netflix: Americans’ streaming behavior analyzed

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

November brought happy news for holiday traditionalists as Netflix viewership fell to an all time low. Binge-watching was down 27 percent and active user volumes were cut by 39 percent to the lowest levels of the year as viewers prepared for Thanksgiving and shopped for the best Black Friday deals.

Sitcoms are back on top: Top ten shows on Netflix in November

To prepare this report, we analyzed Americans’ streaming behavior on Netflix to identify the most popular shows and month-over-month viewership trends. As always, we focused our analysis on two distinct behavioral cohorts: “Binge watchers” who watch a minimum of five episodes of a show a day, and “casual viewers” who watch at least 20 minutes of a show in a day.

Although November was Netflix’s worst month for both binge-watching and viewing volumes, one trend carried over from previous months: Sitcoms continued to reign supreme. All of the top ten shows binged and watched on the subscription video on demand (SVoD) platform were 30-minute sitcoms, with adult cartoons accounting for 56 percent of the binge-watching activity and nearly half of the casual viewership of the leading ten shows.

Family Guy remained in the lead in November, accounting for 22 percent of the binge watchers and 18 percent of casual viewers of the top ten shows. Family Guy has been the most binge-worthy show for six months straight, and has also held the lead for casual viewership for the last five months. However, Family Guy’s casual viewing and binge-watching volumes in November were 30 percent and 16 percent lower than the average volumes since the show took the lead.

These declines are likely due to the aftermath of the audience surge that the show saw in October, following the release of its 14th season, coupled with the holiday-driven decline in Netflix viewership in November.

What else has changed since last month? The two Netflix Originals that made the top ten list for casual viewership in October – Marvel’s Luke Cage and The Ranchfell from the list in November after the new-season surge from October wore off. New Girl was replaced by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia in both lists, while Parks and Recreation, and That ‘70s Show made the cut for casual viewership.

Top 10 Binged Shows Top 10 Watched Shows
# Title % of Top 10 Title % of Top 10
1 Family Guy 22% Family Guy 18%
2 American Dad! 13% The Office 14%
3 The Office 11% Friends 12%
4 Futurama 11% Futurama 10%
5 Friends 10% American Dad! 10%
6 Bob’s Burgers 10% Bob’s Burgers 10%
7 How I Met Your Mother 7% How I Met Your Mother 7%
8 That ‘70s Show 5% Parks and Recreation 7%
9 Parks and Recreation 5% It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 6%
10 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia 5% That ‘70s Show 5%

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, might have only debuted on the SVoD on Black Friday, but our data indicates that fans were catching up on earlier seasons of the Gilmore Girls throughout the month, which pushed the show into 14th place for casual viewership.

Top ten Netflix Originals viewed and binged in November

November hit Netflix streaming hard, but it hit Netflix Originals harder. Binge-watching of Netflix’s original programming was down 40 percent in November, and casual viewership saw a 56 percent MoM decrease. However, the vast majority of the casual audience and binge-watching cuts can be explained.

In October, two new Netflix Originals hit the streaming platform: Marvel’s Luke Cage and The Ranch. These two shows brought in 55 percent of the viewers of the leading original programs growing the casual viewer-base by one third. October’s audience growth and November’s declines can be explained by the streaming giant’s all-in-one release strategy, which causes immediate audience surges following a new release, as well as sharp declines in viewership in the weeks and months that follow.

As for the shows streamed in November, Trailer Park Boys came in first for binge-watching with nearly a quarter of the audience. First place for casual viewership went to The Crown, which debuted on November 4th and instantly climbed to first place with 17 percent of the viewers, dethroning last month’s most popular show Marvel’s Luke Cage.

Two new original programs made the binge-watching list: All Hail King Julien and Skylanders Academy. The fourth season of All Hail King Julien was released on November 4th and claimed seventh place with 6 percent of the binge-watching audience. Skylanders Academy debuted on the SVoD platform in the last days of October and made both of the top ten lists in November.

What else has changed? October released Kuromukuro, Project Mc² and Trailer Park Boys: Out of the Park: Europe fell from the most-binged list in November, while Longmire, Haters Back Off and Narcos lost their top-of-mind status.

Top 10 Binged Shows Top 10 Watched Shows
# Title % of Top 10 Title % of Top 10
1 Trailer Park Boys 24% The Crown 17%
2 Arrested Development 16% Black Mirror 12%
3 Star Wars: The Clone Wars 13% Trailer Park Boys 11%
4 BoJack Horseman 12% Skylanders Academy 9%
5 Trailer Park Boys: Out of the Park: Europe 8% The Ranch 9%
6 The Ranch 6% Trailer Park Boys: Out of the Park: Europe 9%
7 All Hail King Julien 6% Arrested Development 9%
8 Skylanders Academy 6% Star Wars: The Clone Wars 8%
9 The Seven Deadly Sins 4% Marvel’s Luke Cage 8%
10 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 4% BoJack Horseman 8%

Bottom line: A big part of Netflix’s allure is viewers’ ability to watch what they want when they want to watch it. However, November’s viewing rates and audience cuts indicate that other factors, including the holiday season, have a strong impact on Americans’ streaming behavior. Will Netflix recover in December or will November’s slump persist? We will see in our next monthly installment. Until then, we hope you will enjoy the holidays and wish you all the best for 2017. See you next year!

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