One Piece, one of Netflix’s biggest swings of 2023, launched on August 31st, and we just got its first-week stats. How well did it do? Was it a home run? A middling hit or a flop? Let’s take a look!
As we mentioned many times in the run-up to One Piece’s launch, Netflix threw the kitchen sink at this show regarding marketing. Whether it was the big fan events thrown, it being front and center at TUDUM this year (and last!), widely planned interviews with the creators, lots of press releases (one of the best and most intense rollouts in the years I’ve been covering Netflix), its Tumblr takeover, paid advertising, stunts, etc etc etc.
So, following its launch last Thursday, you may have been led to believe that the show was on course to become Netflix’s biggest-ever show based on the number of countries the show was at the number 1 spot on. These reports used FlixPatrol and Netflix’s daily top 10s, which have changed methodology in recent months so these stats are a little misleading.
External data (or demand) thus far has generally been pretty good too. TelevisionStats.com has had it as the number 1 show since August 31st, giving it an “outstanding engagement score” rating, but Google Trends gave us cause for concern that some stats may be inflated.
Fast forward to today, and we finally got some stats from Netflix itself courtesy of Netflix’s top 10 site that releases a weekly top 40 complete with hours viewed and CVE (completed viewing equivalents). This is the number of hours divided by the runtime of the series.
What did Netflix have to say about the first week’s launch? Here’s what they had to say in their top 10 press release:
“ONE PIECE sailed straight to the top of the English TV List, plundering an impressive 18.5M views in just four days of release. The series reached the Top 10 in 93 countries, and debuted at #1 in 46. Based on Japan’s highest-selling manga series in history, which has sold more than 500 million copies globally, the live-action adaptation of Eiichiro Oda’s sprawling tale currently has one of Netflix’s highest audiences scores ever. A huge thanks to the thousands of straw hats who assembled around the world for fan screenings and celebrations across 10 countries.”
That number alone is hard to contextualize, so let’s compare it against some of Netflix’s biggest hits:
The above shows the first four days of views (completed viewing equivalent) for One Piece on Netflix vs. other big Netflix shows in that same window. The bar graphs in green indicate they’ve been renewed, those in red have been canceled, and those in grey are pending.
As you can see here, the show had a pretty good launch, pulling in more views than summer hits XO, Kitty, and FUBAR but notably less than The Night Agent and The Watcher—all of the above shows launched on Thursday, like One Piece.
Now, let’s look at the long-term trajectory of the show vs. other Netflix shows (irrespective of launch day). Wednesday, Netflix’s most-watched show based on 91 days views, was a monster, as we all know, and it doesn’t appear One Piece will be competing for that crown, but we can compare it against three other shows.
The Sandman, which did score a renewal for “more episodes,” tracks a little below One Piece’s launch, and of course, we had to compare against Resident Evil and Cowboy Bebop. Both were unceremoniously canceled quickly by Netflix, and thankfully, One Piece isn’t in that territory.
What will it take for a season 2 of One Piece?
The upcoming weeks are going to be key to the show getting renewed.
As we’ve covered before, renewals come down to several metrics, and we only get our eyeballs on a few of them. One is very much the completion rate (the number of people who start and go on to finish a show), as we’ve covered multiple times before.
Bloomberg excellently covered some of the internal metrics that will be applied to One Piece. One of them will be the “efficiency score,” which measures a show’s value over its cost.
We mention this one specifically because One Piece was an expensive show. NetflixWoche, Netflix’s German promotion site, posted about the budget of the show (translated into English and notably pulled from the original article) in their preview stating:
“At over 16 million euros per episode, One Piece was produced more elaborately than Game of Thrones (costs per episode around 13.7 million euros).”
Indeed, data from Variety Insight in 2020 suggests the show’s budget is somewhere between $15 and $19 million per episode. The budget could be inflated because of multiple filming delays and other COVID-related expenses.
Based on this, for week 2, we’d need to see a healthy increase in viewership, and then in weeks 3 and 4, it’ll be all about the hold of viewing hours. If it falls off a cliff (more than 60%), it could be game over.
For more on season 2 of One Piece, we’ll be keeping our post on the series future updated in the coming weeks as and when we learn more.
Thanks to What’s on Netflix Frederic Durand (twitter.com/filmsdelover) for help with graphs and additional context. You can find his weekly top 10 reports here on What’s on Netflix every Wednesday or subscribe for general streaming reports on Netflix N’ Chiffres.
What do you think? Did One Piece have a good launch? Let us know in the comments.