Are Completion Rates Key to Netflix Cancelations? | © 2023

Are Completion Rates Key to Netflix Cancelations?

Pictured: Resident Evil and The Lincoln Lawyer

When it comes to renewals and cancelations, it used to be like solving Rubiks cubes, but as more analytics companies come online and Netflix becomes more transparent, predicting shows’ fates is getting easier. 

Digital I, a London-based analytics company, is one of these new analytics companies that can provide insight into what goes on behind the scenes. Using their technology SoDA (Streaming on Demand Analytics), they can determine numerous factors about shows, including which were the biggest day-1 hits, data on the weekly vs. binge debate, and insights on kids’ usage.

What we’re focusing on today is completion percentages using their European Panel. This data undoubtedly plays a significant role in whether a show gets renewed or canceled and how Netflix’s internal metrics, “adjusted view share”, “efficiency score”, and “impact value” get assessed.

Marketing director Sophia Vahdati told us, “The Digital i European panel refers to approximately 10,000 accounts across the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, and the Netherlands.”

first kill canceled at netflix

First Kill – Picture: Netflix

This data became extremely helpful when trying to decipher why First Kill was canceled just last month. The cancelation led to many headlines that tried to pick out what happened to get the show canceled. However, as Digital I has observed, shows with completion rates below 50% are often subject to cancelation.

Vahdati added this wasn’t always the case saying, “when Netflix was releasing a high number of Original series each month, there would sometimes be cancellations of shows with relatively high completion rates.”

If we break down the completion rate for First Kill, you can see of those that started episode 1, only 66.94% went on to watch the second episode. That drops even further by the end of season 1, with only 43.11% finishing the final episode.

first kill completion data digital i

Completion rates for First Kill on Netflix

If we look over the past year, which hasn’t been a strong year for renewals thus far, we can compare two shows that did get renewed vs two that didn’t.

  • Heartstopper saw 73% of the people who started watching complete the season.
  • The Lincoln Lawyer saw 56% complete the first season
  • Resident Evil only saw 45% complete the first season (which, in part, led to its cancelation)
  • First Kill, canceled in early August 2022, only scored a 44% completion rate.
netflix completion rates for 2021 shows

Completion data for Netflix shows in 2022

If we go back to 2021 and look at three shows, this trend continues.

  • Squid Game, which no doubt is the benchmark title for any Netflix title to hit, saw 87% finish the first season.
  • Arcane saw 60% complete the series.
  • The canceled series The Irregulars only saw 41% get to the end.
netflix completion rate for 2022 shows

Completion data for Netflix shows in 2021

We can also reveal a few more completion rates for some of Netflix’s biggest shows before we leave you.

  • Of those that started the third season of Love, Death and Robots, 67% went on to complete the season.
  • Pieces of Her had a completion rate of 54%
  • Inventing Anna had a completion rate of 42%

Netflix did not respond to a request for comment on this piece.

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