Recode, summarizing a detailed letter Netflix sent out to shareholders:
At the end of December, Netflix said that 45 million people had watched Bird Box, a Netflix-owned thriller starring Sandra Bullock that came out just before Christmas.
That is a ridiculous number. Compare that to the viewing numbers for one of the most watched shows on cable, Game of Thrones. From The Telegraph:
Game of Thrones has long smashed records for HBO, the cable network it is broadcast on in its native US: it beat The Sopranos as the network’s most-watched series ever in 2015, after crossing the 18.2 million viewers-per-episode mark.
But that’s small fry in comparison to the average 31 million viewers per episode that season seven has witnessed, an 24 per cent increase on 2016’s ratings.
Think about this. Bird Box is new. It has no lead-in, no history, not much in the way of marketing. And it crushed Game of Thrones. Right out of the box. Because Netflix.
The Academy Awards, which was one of the few high-water mark audiences on network television, had 26.5 million viewers last year. At its absolute height, it hit 46 million viewers. Bird Box out of the gate numbers.
Netflix says that Bird Box, which was released late last year, added another 35 million households in the first four weeks after its release, bringing its total audience to 80 million households.
Netflix says that both You, a young-adultish thriller, and Sex Education, another show with a young-adult bent, should each reach 40 million households in their first four weeks on the service.
Apple has the right idea, I think. They have the distribution, already in place. Only question is, can they build compelling content? And, to me, that comes down to picking the right partners.