After Netflix picked up YOU from Lifetime, a new wave of viewers focused on the series when the season 1 episodes hit the streaming service on Dec. 26. Apparently, viewership has been so high amongst subscribers that the company says the show will garner more than 40 million views from members within its first four weeks (a period that ends on Jan. 23).
Of course, without further context, these numbers are hard to discern.
For a long time, Netflix didn’t release viewing metrics for its titles, unlike traditional networks and movie studios. An exception was Bird Box, the film starring Sandra Bullock. A spokesperson told EW that, for movies, an account view is only counted by the company when it surpasses 70 percent of the runtime (including credits). While one account “may include multiple views and viewers,” it “is only counted once.” Television is apparently different.
Previously, the same spokesperson for Bird Box said there’s more “nuance” when recording metrics for series and episodes.
According to a recent letter from Netflix to shareholders, for series, due to their “highly variable length,” the company counts a viewer if they “substantially complete” at least 70 percent of one episode. In the case of YOU, that means Netflix projects 40 million Netflix accounts around the world will watch at least 70 percent of one episode within the series’ first four weeks on the platform.
The number doesn’t account for the number of people watching from a single account or how many times a single account watches a program. If a family of four is watching YOU from the same account, that account still only counts as one. If the family binges YOU three times, it’s still just one count.
Lifetime, which aired season 1 of YOU, initially renewed the series with stars Penn Badgley and Elizabeth Lail for a second season when it was averaging 1.1 million viewers. Netflix announced in December it picked up YOU for season 2.
Additional television metrics were revealed by Netflix: Sex Education is said to be on track to reach 40 million account views over the course of its first month on the platform, while Elite reached “more than 20 million households during its first four weeks on service.”
This article has been updated with more information on Netflix’s metrics.