Arrested Development is a show about deeply delusional people, but Netflix was certainly not deluded when it decided to work with creator Mitchell Hurwitz to create a new season of the beloved-but-canceled sitcom seven years after it originally went off the air.
The experimental fourth season, a cachet of 15 new episodes, became available over Memorial Day weekend, prompting many TV fans to disappoint their families and bail on picnics. And even though critical reception has thus far been mixed, the “semi-original series” is definitely another successful notch on Netflix’s belt – and another sign that streaming entertainment will continue to be a major player.
Based on an initial report by Procera Networks on Netflix viewing habits, it seems like all of the hype and anticipation surrounding the return of the Bluth family culminated in a viewing frenzy just as enthusiastic as the rich, narcissistic clan’s chicken dancing. The report was not comprehensive, but it sampled Procera’s data in North America and Europe, and all of the data indicated the show was substantially bumping up Netflix use. One DSL network the company monitored had 36 percent of its users watching at least part of the series on Sunday, underlining the intense interest in the series renewal. The company estimates that 2 to 7 percent of total Netflix traffic over the weekend came from Arrested Development.
“It seems as if the launch was a success by our metrics, especially when comparing to the subscriber counts to the House Of Cards. We did see a noticeable increase in Netflix traffic this weekend (and even though it was a holiday weekend, the traffic we can attribute to Arrested Development made a difference).”
So people were definitely watching. And the report confirms that Netflix users most often watch programs from gaming consoles like Xbox and PS3 – since they have the highest available streaming resolution, people like to use them to watch Netflix to have the best quality viewing experience.
The Procera report mainly just confirms that investing in Arrested Development was a good move by Netflix, which may encourage the streaming service to consider adopting other TV shows that started on network television.
Whether this is just the beginning of Netflix’s career as a show-reviver or just a unique convergence, the success of Arrested Development on Netflix affirms that original content on streaming services is big business. And Netflix isn’t the only company to realize this; Amazon just jumped full-throttle into the original content game by showing 14 pilots and letting users decide which ones get fleshed out into series.