Netflix Touts Numbers, Claims To Earn 10% Of All Screen Time In U.S.

Netflix is cracking open more viewership numbers, following the explosive debate over its reported “Bird Box” viewership a few weeks ago.

In its quarterly earnings report, released Thursday afternoon, Netflix said in its first four weeks of release, “Bird Box” now has 80 million views, with a view being a household that watches at least 70% of the film.

The company previously reported that 45 million household had watched the film in the first seven days after release.

Then, Netflix upped the ante, suggesting that it now accounts for 10% of all TV screen time in the United States. Netflix arrived at that number by looking at how many hours of video it serves to TV screens every day in the U.S., which it pegs at 100 million.

It estimates TV screens in the U.S. are on for around 1 billion hours every day, including in hotels, bars, etc), thus 10%.

It’s a bold statement, even if Netflix acknowledges that its share of mobile screen time is lower — and that the figure is also lower in other countries, due to lower penetration.

But the message is clear: At any given moment, a significant percentage of the U.S. population is watching Netflix.

The company followed that claim up by strategically revealing additional viewing metrics around some of its other shows.

“Elite,” a Spanish original, has now been seen by more than 20 million households in its first four weeks of release, the company says. “Bodyguard,” (a coproduction with ITV Studios in the U.K.), “Baby” (an original series from Italy, and the Turkish original “The Protector” all saw more than 10 million views in their first four weeks.

The point in releasing those numbers was to show the company’s originals out pace the U.S., even series developed in Italy or Turkey can attract millions of viewers on the company’s platform.

Similarly, Netflix said its original series “You,” a series that flopped on Lifetime but was available on Netflix everywhere else in the world, was picked up by Netflix for an exclusive second season. The company says “You” was seen by 40 million households in its first four weeks.

This quarter marks something of a new era for Netflix.

The company has never previously disclosed any viewership figures, and the ones it released on Thursday, however selective, are sure to be picked apart and analyzed for weeks to come. Inevitable comparisons will be made to Nielsen’s streaming ratings, which are U.S.-only for now.


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