For most of us, binge watching feels like an impulse—something completely detached from any reason or logic. We do it because we feel compelled to, and before we know it, a week has passed, multiple boxes of pizza have been emptied, and our cat’s litter box needs to be changed.
However, according to Netflix, there’s actually a science behind our binging habits. By analyzing user data pulled from all six continents on which Netflix is operational, the streaming giant was able to identify what it’s calling a “hook episode,” or the specific episode after which 70% of viewers will decide to finish the entire season.
Usually, a hook episode includes a major plot event that occurs relatively early in the season. For instance, episode two of Stranger Things, in which Barb goes missing, is considered the hook episode. Meanwhile, in Netflix’s hit true crime docuseries Making a Murderer, the hook occurs in episode four, when “an unexpected confession casts doubt on Steven’s role in the murder case, but the new suspect gives conflicting accounts of what occurred.”
What Netflix noticed is that the hook episode usually occurs at the same point of the season, no matter where in the world that particular show is being watched.
“We’ve always believed there is a universality to great stories. The Internet allows us to share these stories with a global audience and what we see from the data is how similar our members watch and respond,” said Cindy Holland, Netflix’s vice president of original content. “The hooked findings give us confidence that there is an appetite for original and unique content all over the world.”
Which Netflix show you find most binge-worthy?