For many households, Netflix has become the new TV. And why not? No commercials, an (arguably) easily-sortable library, the ability to crush entire seasons of shows in one sitting – all of these have created entirely new ways of watching television. Netflix has changed the industry forever and secured its position as the undisputed leader of the streaming video market. Still, Netflix isn’t impervious to the same problems television companies have faced in the past: competition from similar products, bad reviews, and even the lure of that weird place we call physical reality. Yes, even Netflix users sometimes venture outside to see what all the fuss is about with that “real life” thing. This week, Netflix saw a significant drop in viewership thanks to one of the rarest natural phenomena: a total solar eclipse.
If you haven’t yet been bombarded to death with news, pictures, and videos of the eclipse, you likely don’t have internet in the rock under which you live and aren’t reading this article anyway, so I’ll assume you know which eclipse I’m talking about. During yesterday’s eclipse, Netflix saw a 10% drop in viewership – one of their most significant drops yet – as subscribers stopped binge-watching The Defenders and crawled outside to stare at that pesky ball of burning plasma in the sky.
Netflix issued a series of tweets just hours after the eclipse admitting their defeat in the face of such a once-in-a-lifetime cosmic spectacle. “Hey, just wondering why 10% of you chose to watch a giant rock cover a giant ball of gas when I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THERE FOR YOU,” Netflix’s first tweet read. That one was followed by another tweet less than a minute later stating “but really, there was a 10% drop in plays during the eclipse today. Well played, Moon.”
Maybe Hulu should have live-streamed the eclipse to capitalize on the event.