Netflix can pinpoint the moment you got hooked on ‘Breaking Bad’

Do you know the moment you got hooked on your favorite series? Netflix does.

The streaming giant has released customer data showing fascinating trends among viewers of hits like Breaking Bad, Bates Motel, How I Met Your Mother, and others.


The new data reveals the point after which viewers continue on to complete the series. For some shows, like Bates Motel and Breaking Bad, viewers get hooked early—70 percent of viewers who saw the second episode of these shows went on to complete the series.

For other shows, the bar is higher. Viewers of The Blacklist and How I Met Your Mother needed a whole seven and eight episodes, respectively, to get hooked.

The data was compiled from viewers across countries in North America and Europe, as well as Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand. The cumulative data indicates that viewers are rarely if ever hooked after just the first episode—which makes a strong argument in favor of Netflix’s decision to release its content in entire series installments.

Head of Content Ted Sarandos said as much in the company’s press release. “[I]n our research of more than 20 shows across 16 markets, we found that no one was ever hooked on the pilot. This gives us confidence that giving our members all episodes at once is more aligned with how fans are made.”


The threshhold for impactful engagement seems to differ widely because the shows themselves differ widely. Compared with a show like Breaking Bad, which has lots of action early on, a show like Mad Men is a slower build.

Maybe the turning point at which you got hooked on your favorite show was lower or higher than the average viewing time of four episodes. But even so, Netflix is paying attention—and using your addiction to help craft its entertainment strategies for the future.

Photo via Netflix

Aja Romano

Aja Romano

Aja Romano is a geek culture reporter and fandom expert. Their reporting at the Daily Dot covered everything from Harry Potter and anime to Tumblr and Gamergate. Romano joined Vox as a staff reporter in 2016.