Netflix users watched an average of 5 House of Cards episodes in first weekend
James R | On 22, Feb 2014
“That’s how you devour a whale – one bite at a time,” said Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) in House of Cards Season 1. He could easily have been talking about Season 2, as binge-viewing fans of the show watched an episode of five times in the first weekend of its release.
Those are the statistics according to Procera Networks, whose research found that anywhere from 5 to 15 per cent of Netflix subscribers worldwide sampled at least one episode in the first few days of Season 2’s release.
When it came to the political whale, though, Netflix users in Europe were hungrier than those in the USA, streaming an average of five chapters across the weekend following the Friday launch – compared to US viewers, who watched an average of three.
The comparison between European and US viewing habits is the first time the group have carried out such analysis – it will be interesting to see whether that holds true for Orange Is the New Black when it is released on Netflix in June.
But American fans were still chomping at the bit rate: binge-viewing in the US was four times higher than the first season, with 6 to 10 per cent of subscribers watching “at least one episode”, while “about 2 per cent” went the full distance and finished all 13 episodes. On the continent, 7 to 10 per cent of Netflix subscribers streamed at least one episode, while just 1 per cent saw it through to the end.
There are some, though, who will have binged even harder: Jeremy Edberg, Netflix’s Reliability Architect, told Marketplace.org that the last time House of Cards launched, the engineers calculated it had a total runtime of about 13 hours: “We looked to [see] if anybody was finishing in that amount of time. And there was one person who finished with just three minutes longer than there is content. So basically, three total minutes of break in roughly 13 hours.”
Interestingly, according to Procera, the release of House of Cards Season 2 did not prompt any significant rise in traffic overall for the site, which perhaps suggests that people are already watching Netflix regardless of the show at hand. It’s not a question of whether they stream: it’s a question of what.
The most popular resolution used by viewers was 1280×720, which is the highest resolution available – no surprise given the stunning time-lapse opening credits by photographer Andrew Geraci and consistently beautiful cinematography from Igor Martinovic.
So no matter how far you’ve got in Season 2 of House of Cards, rest assured as you settle down to see Frank Underwood manipulate his way through the West Wing of the White House: you’re not the only one devouring that whale. The question is how big a bite you take.