In this golden age of prestige television, it’s easy to forget that generic shows still dominate the ratings. That disparity was driven home when CBS chief research officer David Poltrack took to the stage at the UBS Global Media Conference on Monday and revealed the two most popular shows on Netflix are NBC’s The Blacklist and ABC’s Once Upon A Time.
Netflix is notoriously coy when it comes releasing information about its customers’ viewing habits, so it’s always notable when specific figures come to light. According to Poltrack, NBC’s James Spader-led crime procedural and ABC’s fairy tale mashup account for about 7 percent of Netflix viewership. (So the next time you’re in a room with 100 people, just remember that seven of them are secret Oncers or Listers.)
Poltrack’s speech actually aimed to bring Netflix down a peg by pointing out the streaming service isn’t particularly good at creating hits outside of House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black. The service’s five original shows account for only 6.6 percent of Netflix viewership, which means subscribers spend more time watching The Blacklist and Once Upon A Time than they do all of the service’s original programming combined. Yet the announcement is actually good news for Netflix, which signed one of the biggest subscription deals when it acquired the streaming rights to The Blacklist for $2 million per episode. That investment is apparently paying off.
So, instead of attacking Netflix, Poltrack mostly ended up revealing the dubious tastes of its users, who apparently like fairy tale reimaginings with cheap CGI and/or criminals in fedoras. Either that, or The Blacklist and Once Upon A Time are just the perfect white noise to put on while doing shit around the house.