Welcome to your weekly rundown of the biggest stories from Netflix’s top 10 hourly figures drop for the week ending December 31st, 2023. This week, we’ll cover Berlin, Pokémon Concierge, Rebel Moon, international films, Ricky Gervais, Dave Chappelle and another deep dive into Netflix Engagement Report.
Every Tuesday, Netflix updates its top 10 stats page with 40 new hourly figures of the top movies and shows of the past seven days.
Note: In this report of Netflix’s hours viewed from December 26th, 2023 to December 31st, 2023, we’ll use “Complete Viewings Equivalent,” or CVE, expressed in millions. That means we divide the hours viewed announced by Netflix by the runtime of films or series. It allows for better comparisons between films and series, but it’s not an audience metric. It is the minimum number of viewings if they were all complete from the first second to the last of the film or season.
1. Berlin is perfectly executing a viewership heist.
Money Heist is still one of Netflix’s most powerful licenses as spin-off Berlin launched with 11.3M CVEs over its first three days, the best launch for a new international series released on a Friday since Netflix first shared viewership numbers.
It bested six South Korean series, two other Spanish series, and one Swedish series to establish this new record. Fun fact: the best launch of a returning international series released on a Friday is Money Heist’s first part of season 5, with 47.3M CVEs in three days. Let’s say we’re not seeing the end of the Money Heist universe any time soon.
2. It’s not all rosy on the side of the international film.
If international series are seeing a surge because of Berlin this week, the new international films of last week had quite lackluster launches. Swedish drama Thank You I’m Sorry and Indian young adult film Kho Gaye Hum Kahan launched with 2.9 and 2.8M CVEs respectively, over their first six days, the lowest launches in my dataset for international films released on a Tuesday.
One thing to note is that Kho Gaye Hum Kahan is as of now one of Netflix’s most-liked original films on IMDb ever, with an average rating of 8.2/10, underlining again that Indian watchers, just like South-Korean viewers are usually very kind when they rate their films and series on websites such as IMDb. But the film seems to resonate with audiences in India which is another path to success than raw viewership numbers.
3. Pokémon Concierge is having a few guests.
The motion animated series Pokémon Concierge did quite a subdued launch with only 2.6M CVEs over its first four days. With a licence such as this one, I expected more than the second best launch for a Japanese animated series released on Netflix on a Thursday.
4. Rebel Moon is shining just a little bit brighter in its second week.
It’s time for another deep dive into Rebel Moon’s numbers for its second week as the film progressed to the tune of +42% of its hours viewed compared to its first week-end. That’s the 6th best improvement for a US Netflix film released on a Friday this year, suggesting that curiosity might have kicked in in part, after a disappointing first week-end.
Now, that was the good news.
As for the bad news, Rebel Moon is not on an orbit that would get it close to the galaxy of the all-time most-watched films ever on Netflix, as exemplified in the following chart by the trajectory of Leave the World Behind, which is effectively leaving this world behind to reach this all-time top 10 galaxy, edging out Extraction 2 in the process.
More disappointing, Rebel Moon won’t even be in the Top 5 best launches of the year for a Netflix film as it is now battling out rom-com Your place or mine and comedy The out-laws for a spot between the 7th and 10th rank, depending on how it does in its third week.
Some people online have asked why there are so much expectation for this title, and that’s a fair question. But if I’d told you at the beginning of the year that Rebel Moon, an epic space opera film from Zack Snyder, would probably do less than the rom-com Your Place or Mine with Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher, I’m not sure the general consensus would have been “Sure, seems legit,” and that’s especially true among Netflix’s ranks as the marketing push for this film has been huge for months, way more than any other film released by Netflix this year with a release date placed ten months in advance at the most important spot of the year for Netflix, around Christmas day.
Now, there’s another question to ask: based on those numbers, would you have greenlit a sequel to Rebel Moon for an estimated cost of $90M? Again, let’s take a look at the most-watched Netflix films released on a Friday after ten days since June 2021 to find some apples-to-apples comparisons.
Rebel Moon is currently 21st, but we’ll be able to compare it with more titles released on other days of the week next time as it enters its third week. As of the time of writing, only Red Notice, Knives Out, The Gray Man, Extraction 2, and Enola Holmes have had a sequel greenlit (Knives Out had two sequels greenlit upfront, so it hinged less on the performance of the second film), so far.
Rebel Moon is currently charting 30M+ CVEs less than all of those titles after only ten days, except for Enola Holmes 2, but as the title suggests, it is the second installment of the series, one that did less than the first film and that also cost less than 90M$. So all in all, let’s say that it’s probably for the best that Rebel Moon shot its two films back-to-back, but I would not expect a Rebel Moon part 3 any time soon, either.
5. A tale of two stand-up shows.
This week, stand-up shows are all the rage in Netflix’s top 10, with Armageddon from Ricky Gervais topping the charts with 8 million CVEs and Dave Chappelle coming in fifth place with The Dreamer with 2.2M CVEs.
Now, it would be easy to say that Ricky Gervais is more popular on Netflix than Dave Chappelle, but that’s forgetting how the top 10 works, and I’m sure you know better than that. Ricky Gervais’ special was released on Monday, December 25th so it had seven whole days to get its views, while Dave Chappelle’s special was released on Sunday, December 31st so it only got one tiny day to get 2.2M CVEs. So we’ll know more next week, but I’m betting now that Dave Chappelle will do a whole lot better than Ricky Gervais next week and even surpass him. As to compare them to other stand-up shows in my dataset, that’s tricky right now as no stand-up shows released on Sundays or Mondays have made it into the Top 10 so far, Tuesday being the preferred day of release by Netflix for comedy specials.
6. Netflix Data Dump big dive: sitcom edition!
One of the most interesting things to study in the Engagement Report released by Netflix (or The Big Netflix Data Dump as I like to call it) is the performance of series long after their prime and their ending and this week, we’re taking a closer look at three of those:
- The Ranch starring Ashton Kutcher that lasted for four seasons (or eight parts) (2016-2020)
- Fuller House lasted for five seasons between 2016 and 2020
- One Day at a Time lasted for three seasons before being canceled at Netflix before then revived on another network before being canceled again.
Now, I’m starting from a place where I’m assuming that their viewership during the first semester of 2023 is somewhat proportional to their viewership during their prime, but it’s hard to prove for now.
Now you might wonder why The Ranch is displayed the way it is, and that’s because Netflix, in its Engagement Report, was kind enough to split the series into eight parts rather than four seasons, so this split gives us an inside look into the decaying viewership even between parts of a series. I display here the number of CVEs for each part but also for each season.
I’ve written it again, and I will write it again: in a binge world, the strongest viewership of any series is during the first second of the first episode of the first series. After that, any subsequent second will see a more or less important decaying viewership for various reasons.
Now, we know that when Netflix decides to renew a series, it focuses on three main factors: the overall audience of a series (the bigger it is, the better), the decaying viewership over episodes and seasons (the less important it is, the better) and the budget of the series (the more in line with the previous two factors, the better).
Now, three years after those three shows ended, Fuller House has the most viewership and a remarkably low decaying viewership between seasons 2 and 5, probably explaining why this sitcom lasted for five seasons. It probably had gas in the tank for some more seasons based on that. Still, several factors might have played a part in it ending: it must have been quite an expensive show to license, based on its big casting and the fact that it is a sequel to another successful show, Warner Bros Television produces it and let’s say that in 2020 when WB was readying the HBO Max service, relations between Netflix and WB might have soured a bit.
One Day at a Time is also quite interesting as its overall audience is low four years after it was canceled, but its decaying viewership is best in class here. That must have been one of the reason Sony TV was able to find it a new home in the US, hoping that this faithful audience would follow.
Finally, The Ranch was not produced by any major studio, and its global viewership is still quite high. Its decaying viewership is also quite high, probably highlighting why it never got a fifth season in the first place.
That’s all for this week!