In Stranger Things, it was the second episode, when a gradually brightening light in Will’s bedroom precedes a warping of its walls. In Narcos, it was the third episode, when drug lord Pablo Escobar’s assassins gun down a government minister.
In both Netflix hits, those two episodes were the tipping point for success in Singapore. Seventy per cent of viewers who watched them would go on to finish the entire first season, the online streaming service provider said today.
It found from its analysis of global user patterns across 60 shows since last year that couch potatoes always took more than the first episode to convert from a casual to committed viewer.
In Singapore, for example, the popular Marvel’s Daredevil only won over fans in episode four. House of Cards, a gripping tale of political intrigue, caught the firm attention of viewers only from episode five.
That goes against the idea of a pilot episode, which is usually screened by pay-TV operators in the United States to gauge how well an audience would receive a new series.
“Given the precious nature of primetime slots on traditional TV, a series pilot is arguably the most important point in the life of the show,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix, in a statement today.
“Yet in our research across the region, we found that no one was ever hooked on the first episode,” he noted.