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What episode hooks viewers on a TV series? Netflix has the answer

By Shawn Knight ยท 8 replies
Sep 23, 2015
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  1. Contrary to popular belief, the purpose of a television pilot isn’t to get the home viewing audience hooked on a series but to sell the show to a television network. Hooking fans on a series, as Netflix reveals, often doesn’t happen until several episodes in.

    The king of on-demand streaming media recently crunched the numbers in an effort to determine precisely what episode manages to hook viewers on a series. As it turns out, nobody gets hooked on the pilot.

    Netflix considers an episode to be the hook when, after viewing, 70 percent of watchers stick around for the rest of the season. But before we dig any deeper, let’s have a look at the results from the 25 shows Netflix analyzed:

    • Arrow: Episode 8
    • Bates Motel: Episode 2
    • Better Call Saul: Episode 4
    • Bloodline: Episode 4
    • BoJack Horseman: Episode 5
    • Breaking Bad: Episode 2
    • Dexter: Episode 3
    • Gossip Girl: Episode 3
    • Grace & Frankie: Episode 4
    • House of Cards: Episode 3
    • How I Met Your Mother: Episode 8
    • Mad Men: Episode 6
    • Marco Polo: Episode 3
    • Marvel’s Daredevil: Episode 5
    • Once Upon a Time: Episode 6
    • Orange is the New Black: Episode 3
    • Pretty Little Liars: Episode 4
    • Scandal: Episode 2
    • Sense8: Episode 3
    • Sons of Anarchy: Episode 2
    • Suits: Episode 2
    • The Blacklist: Episode 6
    • The Killing: Episode 2
    • The Walking Dead: Episode 2
    • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Episode 4

    There’s quite a bit of variance here with some shows hooking viewers in as few as two episodes while others, such as Arrow, don’t get the job done until episode eight.

    While the data is interesting in its own right, Netflix is of course using it to promote its own product and more specifically, to prop up its strategy of releasing an entire season at once versus appointment viewing. There are plenty of pros and cons to each method but for the sake of brevity, we’ll save that discussion for another day.

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  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,605   +1,891

    The most relapse-inducing products, if you believe the honesty of your dealer on the corner.
  3. Satish Mallya

    Satish Mallya TS Maniac Posts: 145   +108

    I wonder how the episode number of the 'hook' episode corresponds to the rating of the show....
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,760   +2,431

    Judging by the weekly viewers / ratings of every show on that list, I say they should have included "the hook episodes" of any show that actually matters.

    OK. My bad. I didn't see "Scandal" or "The Blacklist", although I don't follow them personally, I freely admit anything that survives in prime time on the major networks, "matters".
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,410   +3,425

    If I'm not interested in the first three (any three viewed) episodes, I will likely not watch the forth. I'm not gonna stick around 6 or 8 episodes, if the first three didn't hook me.
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,760   +2,431

    If the female lead is really, really hot, I'll continue watching a show I hate. With that being said, even Maggie Q's essential hotness couldn't make "Stalker" palatable to me. That show should have been titled, "Stinker", from the jump. :oops:

    Here, check the overnight ratings for last Thursday: Tell me if "Arrow", with 914,000 viewers "matters", against "Thursday Night Football", with over 17,000,000...
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015
    davislane1 likes this.
  7. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,045   +206

    Better Call Saul: Episode 4, I am not sure if this is when I got hooked but it turned from a little unrealistic and unlikable to a good show at least midway in.

    Dexter is a great show

    Marco polo was enjoyable, at fist I was like this is ok and its a refreshingly different era\location. At the end I was like oh man I have to wait another year?

    Orange is the new black was very interesting the first season or 2. Now its meh.

    Bojackman I tried a few episodes its just gross and offputting

    The walking dead is the best show on television.

    How I Met Your Mother, I used to like the reruns that came on in the evening but now when I see it I just want to throw up. I still like barney but the mushyness is nauseating.

    Mad men, havent really given it a good chance but it looks boring.

    Once upon a time, not a bad series, a bit slow at times, something me and my gf can watch together.

    Sons of anarchy, I couldn't get into it, I just finished watching the sopranos before I gave it a try and it just seemed like a dumbed down version of Tonys crew. Maybe if I saw it a few years later I wouldn't have noticed how badly they ripped it off.

    The sopranos, one of my top ten favorites (Netflix get this before it becomes to old)

    Blacklist another cop show? cant remember

    Arrow, worst none super hero ever, I just can't help thinking, hes good.... but if he had a gun he'd be better lol. I watched most of the first season and will likely never watch it again, just seems silly.

    The rest I haven't seen or read a few paragraphs about them and decided they were not for me.

    Some other new shows of note I am currently trying out
    Mr Robot
    Drunk History
    Bastard executioner

    Recently my girlfriend started watching Roseanne from season one and that show is a gem, I can't believe how dumbed down family shows have gotten since Roseanne aired.
  8. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,272   +241

    so you enjoyed naked weapon and priest then?:D
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,760   +2,431

    Actually the cover of "Naked Weapon" looks terribly familiar. I'll have to look around. I may have a copy stashed somewhere.. Her role in "MI3" likely put here on my radar as well.

    As for other Asian actresses you might find tickle your reptile brain, have a look at these:

    Karen Mok
    Ziyi Zhang:
    Qi Shu:

    A big and pleasant surprise was Ming Na Wen: Now of "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" fame. (*) (She's the oldest of the bunch at 51 (!), although I concede her leather "uniform", probably aids a bit with the shaping).

    And last, but certainly not least, Grace Park:

    She had me at "Boomer", and I think she had me hooked on "Hawaii Five-0", in the teasers, before the show ever aired. I think she's the only female cop on TV, whose Glock on the hip dwarfs her backside, instead of the other way around. Then too, there's the whole, "she makes 41 look like the new 14", thing going on.

    (*) Speaking of which, Marvel/Disney have granted the sole rights to that series to Amazon. Who is price gouging like mad, and getting horrible reviews because of it.*Version*=1&*entries*=0 It goes to show you what happens if copyright holders are allowed too much influence in government affairs. For the first time in my life, I find myself hoping Kim Dotcom, gets out of his predicament. But I suppose, that's a topic of another thread:
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015

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