Bird Box

Netflix’s record-breaking viewership for ‘Bird Box’ has caused a debate in Hollywood

Netflix said its original movie “Bird Box,” starring Sandra Bullock, was viewed by 45 million accounts in its first seven days on the streaming service, which is a record for the company.

There are a lot of casualties in Netflix’s statement. 45 million accounts don’t exactly decipher to particular viewer counts, as an account could serve one person or an entire family. It’s also uncertain from Netflix’s tweet how many people watched all of Bird Box (starring A-list actors like Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich) or even half of the movie, before switching to something else. Netflix famously doesn’t make its viewership numbers public, making it difficult to determine an accurate viewership number.

Netflix needs to be more transparent about the performance of its titles, not just so people can better understand the context of the data, but also to help more of these types of movies get made.


A spokesperson for Netflix said that the company only counts an account as having watched Bird Box “once a view surpasses 70 percent of the total running time (including credits).” Furthermore, “each ‘account’ may include multiple views and viewers but is only counted once,” the spokesperson added.

I’m fairly sure Bird Box is a phenomenon of some sort, but without verifiable data or comparative data for context, a Netflix-affiliated Twitter feed coming down from on-high with suspiciously specific (and yet entirely vague) data is the epitome of nonsense,” Daniel Feinberg, a critic at The Hollywood Reporter, tweeted.

Though Netflix revealed the huge number, it didn’t give specifics. How many of those 45 million watched the movie from beginning to end? What were the demographics of the viewers? Those are the types of stats that movie studios and TV networks release about their content.