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Netflix survey details the shift in viewing habits among streamers

Someone watching Netflix on a tablet in bed.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Netflix doesn’t usually release tons of viewer data, but the streaming service is always enthusiastic about survey results. And the latest results suggest some interesting patterns about when we tend to watch certain types of programming, and how this compares to the viewing habits of yesteryear.

According to the data, subscribers get up bright and early to check out their favorite comedies: around 6 a.m., members are 34 percent more likely to watch comedy compared to other times throughout the day. The reboot series Fuller House, for example, gets watched before 8 a.m., marking a shift from the original series, which was part of the prime time TV lineup back in its day. Other top comedies watched before sunrise: The Office, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Friends.

We consider heavy dramas fodder for the evenings, but come lunch time, members worldwide are already focusing their eyes on series in this genre, which accounts for almost half (47 percent) of all Netflix viewing between the hours of noon and 2 p.m., though this is only a 5-percent increase compared to drama-watching throughout the rest of the day. But it’s clear that a greater number of folks like to enjoy some House of Cards, Shameless, Grey’s Anatomy, or Orange is the New Black with their lunchtime soup and sandwich. Midday streaming is particularly high in Brazil, where members are 25 percent more likely to watch compared to those in other countries.

We still love to watch thrillers, including series like The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, and Breaking Bad, in the evenings. Globally, that genre sees a 27-percent increase in viewership once the clock strikes 9 p.m. However, the binge-fest only lasts for a few hours, because come 11 p.m., viewers are ready for lighter fare, switching to comedies like Parks and Recreation, Master of None, and Bojack Horseman. Perhaps zombies and drug-dealing aren’t the best way to end the day before hitting the sack.

Netflix subscribers do not watch into the wee hours of the morning — only 15 percent of streaming globally is between midnight and 6 a.m., though that rises to as high as 21 percent in countries like Japan and South Korea. However, what members are watching overnight is equally interesting. This is when viewers watch shows like Chef’s Table, along with documentaries like Abstract, Making a Murderer, and Planet Earth, which see viewership climb as high as 24-percent overnight.

“It’s interesting to see the behaviors that emerge when viewers aren’t tied to a schedule,” says Cindy Holland, vice president of original content at Netflix. “And even more so to see that these routines are replicated by millions the world over.”

Overall, Netflix sees peak streaming as early as 5 p.m. in India, and as late as 10 p.m. in Argentina and Singapore.

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Christine Persaud
Christine has decades of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started her career writing exclusively about…
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