The Witcher Is Tracking to Be Netflix's Most-Viewed First Season

Lawrence Kim
January 22, 2020

Netflix gave a special thanks to "The Witcher" in its Q4 letter to shareholders on Tuesday afternoon, saying the Henry Cavill-led fantasy show was watched by 76 million households in its first month, making it the biggest first season debut in the service's history. By that measure, 83 million households opted for the new Michael Bay / Ryan Reynolds flick 6 Underground, 73 million have "chosen to watch" The Crown throughout its run, and Netflix estimates its thriller You will have 54 million views in its first four weeks.

The Witcher started off as a series of hit books, then became hit video games. That latter reference, of course, is a nod to the bard Jaskier's catchy song with the memorable exhortation to "Toss a coin to your witcher".

On the technology side of things, Netflix touted its mobile-only plans it rolled out in Malaysia, Indonesia and India, which it says it will bring to more countries in the coming year. Additionally, there's chatter that Mark Hamill might even be approached to play a role in the show's already greenlit second season.

However, to arrive at the numbers that purport to reveal The Witcher's first season as Netflix's biggest season one ever, the streamer chose to change up the methodology behind how it calculates this viewership.

It's important to note, however, that Netflix has changed its metric for what counts as a "view" from someone who has watched 70 percent of a single episode to someone who has watched 2 minutes of a single episode.

The catch here is that the numbers are being tabulated according to Netflix's revised viewership system that counts two minutes of viewing - what Netflix is calling "an intentional choice" - the same as watching 70% of an episode under its old measurement system, and are vastly different than the metrics Nielsen uses to measure shows like Game of Thrones. "This way, short and long titles are treated equally, leveling the playing field for all types of our content including interactive content, which has no fixed length".

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