On Friday, Netflix announced that Bird Box is officially its most-watched original movie with a staggering 45,037,125 accounts having watched the film in its first week on the service. Now, following some criticism of how they calculate that statistic, Netflix reveals a bit more about their viewer stats.
When Netflix revealed that the Sandra Bullock-starring film had racked up over 45 million views in the seven days since its December 21st release, many wondered exactly how that was possible. Entertainment Weekly's Katie Hasty, quoting Nick Romano, specifically asked the question on Twitter, wondering "did subscribers ... inadvertently click on the title while trying to decide between that and watching Parks and Recreation for the 45,037,125th time?" At the time, Netflix wouldn't comment beyond the data they'd already provided -- namely that massive number -- but the service had a change of heart and updated Entertainment Weekly on how it arrived at that number.
"When initially reached for comment, a rep for Netflix said, 'We dont' have anything to add beyond the tweet,'" the update states. "However, in a rare move by the company, a spokesperson later explained to EW that Netflix only counts once a view surpasses 70 percent of the total running time, including credits. When an account is counted, it 'may include multiple views and viewers but is only counted once.'"
By these guidelines, Bird Box may actually have more than 45 million actual views and not all of them made it through to the film's end, but the net result remains unchanged: a whole lot of people decided to check out the thriller with some scaring themselves so much they no longer want to look outside. It's pretty impressive.
Also impressive is this little glimpse at some of how Netflix calculates their version of ratings. The streaming giant is notorious for not releasing viewing metrics except to occasionally note things like Bird Box's massive viewership. This is often frustrating for fans, particularly when something such as Daredevil is canceled despite reports that it was one of the company's most-viewed originals. However, it's important to note that this new information about Bird Box's viewer metrics should be taken with a grain of salt. Netflix explained that this is simply how they track views for original films, not all of their content.
While this caveat does continue to keep viewers in the dark when it comes to the big picture of Netflix metrics, it does clarify that Bird Box is very much the phenomenon the streamer claimed it to be.
Bird Box is now streaming on Netflix.
Were you one of the 45 million plus viewers to watch Bird Box in its first week? Let us know in the comments below.