Binge and a Breather: Netflix Finds 36% of TV Series Watchers Turn to a Movie Next

netflix stranger things disney zootopia
Courtesy of Netflix/Disney

Netflix is highlighting its movie lineup with research showing that after streaming subscribers finish binge-watching a TV show, many cleanse their palates with a movie.

After finishing a series, 59% of Netflix members took at least a one-day break with a median gap of 2.5 days, according to the company’s data. During that period, 61% of those members (36% of all Netflix members) watched a standalone title.

Among U.S. subs, Netflix identified TV-movie pairings — the films that binge-watchers most frequently turned to after completing a show. Some look logical: “Pretty Little Liars” series viewers turned to “Bring It On” and “Mean Girls,” while “Breaking Bad” bingers flipped on “Full Metal Jacket” and “Pulp Fiction.”

And after binge-watching adult animated series “BoJack Horseman,” some sought a little self-help from “Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru.”

For horror series, Netflix found viewers most often turn to comedy before moving to the next nailbiter. For instance, fans of Netflix’s supernatural thriller “Stranger Things” most frequently next watched much lighter fare: Adam Sandler’s “Big Daddy” and Disney’s “Zootopia.” And “American Horror Story” bingers traded terror for teen angst with “Mean Girls” (although they also watched psychological horror flick “The Babadook”).

“In our ongoing effort to make great programming decisions for our members, we found movies play a unique role in their evolving binge-watching routines,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in announcing the findings.

Netflix is publicizing the research because it wants customers to know that it still has a bunch of movies in its queue (although independent research has found Amazon Prime Video offers a much bigger selection). Those include new releases under Netflix’s deal with Disney for U.S. pay-TV window rights. The streaming service currently offers “The Jungle Book,” “Zootopia” and “The Finest Hour” from the Mouse House, with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Captain America: Civil War” to become available later this month, followed by “Finding Dory” in January.

Sarandos, speaking at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference this week, noted that one-third of Netflix viewing on average is movies. At the same time, he said that the company will continue to shift more of its $6 billion content budget for 2017 into original series, with plans to launch 20 unscripted shows next year.

Netflix based the analysis on viewing data of more than 86 million members worldwide between January 2016 and October 2016. Members did not have to complete a TV series in a certain amount of time in order to be included in the research. To determine example series and movie pairs, Netflix analyzed more than 100 TV series to identify which movies were paired most frequently per market, but the movie pairings do not equate to viewership numbers.

Here are the top TV-movie pairings among Netflix’s U.S. subscribers:

  • American Horror Story: Mean Girls, The Babadook
  • Arrow: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, The Fast and The Furious
  • Bates Motel: Cruel Intentions, Dope
  • Better Call Saul: Reservoir Dogs, The Big Short
  • Black Mirror: Experimenter, Hot Girls Wanted
  • Bloodline: Spotlight, The Machinist
  • BoJack Horseman: St. Vincent, Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru
  • Breaking Bad: Full Metal Jacket, Pulp Fiction
  • Fuller House: Chef, Grease
  • Gilmore Girls: Dirty Dancing, Sixteen Candles
  • Gossip Girl: Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Clueless
  • Grace & Frankie: August: Osage County, Philomena
  • Grey’s Anatomy: American Beauty, Practical Magic
  • House of Cards: Beasts of No Nation, The Usual Suspects
  • How To Get Away With Murder: Cruel Intentions, Lila & Eve
  • Jane the Virgin: Clueless, Palm Trees in the Snow
  • Making A Murderer: Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer, The Hunting Ground
  • Marvel’s Daredevil: The Punisher
  • Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Lila & Eve
  • Marvel’s Luke Cage: 13th, Beverly Hills Cop, London Has Fallen
  • Master of None: Aziz Ansari Live at Madison Square Garden, Meet the Patels
  • Narcos: Cartel Land, Narco Cultura
  • Orange Is the New Black: The Big Short, The Fundamentals of Caring
  • Pretty Little Liars: Bring It On, Mean Girls
  • Scream: Goosebumps, Minions
  • Sense8: Pulp Fiction, The Giver
  • Stranger Things: Big Daddy, Zootopia
  • The Ranch: The Do-Over, The Finest Hours
  • The Walking Dead: Saving Private Ryan, The Do-Over
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Pleasantville, The Princess Bride


Pictured above: Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and Disney’s “Zootopia”