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Netflix says it has a new most-watched series in Bridgerton — although The Witcher might still have a claim to that throne as well.
The streamer had earlier estimated that 63 million member accounts would check out the Shonda Rhimes-produced period drama over its first 28 days of release. (Netflix counts a view as someone watching at least two minutes of a series or film.)
Now that 28 days have actually passed since the show’s Dec. 25 premiere, however, that projection turned out to be way off: Netflix says 82 million member households have viewed the show, the most since it switched to the two-minute standard in late 2019. It surpasses the prior record of 76 million views in 28 days for The Witcher.
The latter series can still lay claim to having the highest percentage of Netflix households worldwide check it out. When The Witcher debuted in December 2019, Netflix had just over 169 million subscribers, per its quarterly earnings report. That means about 45 percent of its subscribers viewed the show. Netflix ended the fourth quarter of 2020 with 203.7 million subscribers, meaning about 40.3 percent of them checked out Bridgerton.
Going by percentage of subscribers, Bridgerton still ranks in the top three of all Netflix shows, with The Witcher and season three of Stranger Things in summer 2019. Under the streamer’s old view metric — which counted 70 percent of one episode of a series or 70 percent of a feature film as a view — about 40.4 percent of subscribers at the time (64 million) watched Stranger Things.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the reason the early projection for Bridgerton was so far off — a difference of 19 million member accounts — was that the series has defied Netflix’s expectations. Typical viewing patterns for Netflix shows tend to feature a big tune-in during the first half of that 28-day window before they taper off somewhat. That slowdown hasn’t happened as much with Bridgerton, sources say.
The all-time high for any Netflix original, per its own reports, is for the Chris Hemsworth-led action movie Extraction. The company said 99 million member accounts viewed the film within 28 days of its release.
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