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Netflix Content Chief Unveils New Viewership Numbers for ‘The Irishman’, Film Was Watched by Over 26 Million People

Stephanie Sengwe

During the UBS Global TMT Conference today, Netflix’s content chief, Ted Sarandos, unveiled new numbers for their hit film “The Irishman.” According to Sarandos, the Martin Scorsese-directed movie was watched by precisely 26,404,081 people during its first seven days on the streaming platform. The company expects the film will hit the 40 million households in its first 28 days.

Last week, Nielsen reported that the film averaged 2.6 million viewers per minute in the U.S. when it debuted, garnering a total average minute audience of 13.2 million viewers in its first five days since premiering on Netflix. “The Irishman” peaked on Nov. 29, when it reached 3.1 million viewers, and then slightly dipped on Nov. 30 with 2.8 million viewers. Despite being over three hours long, the movie still captivated watchers. Nielsen reported that on the premiere day, 751,000 viewers saw it in its entirety, and approximately 930,000 on Nov. 29.

Sarandos addressed the company’s pattern of notoriously withholding viewership numbers, stating, “I don’t know that [the system] is wrong, I think it’s imperfect…What you might miss is that most people don’t watch movies alone. There could be three people in the house, there could be five people watching together. If three people watch Netflix at different times in the house, that only counts as one. The 26 million is a household number,” he explained. “But 100 percent of them wouldn’t have gone to the theater, so you have to figure out whatever math makes sense. For us, that number makes sense. That’s the number that’s valuable to us.”

In the advent of the streaming wars, there seems to be an influx of content coming at viewers with new streaming services offering their own originals as well as library content. However, Sarandos reminded listeners that these media companies have long been content creators. “All the new competitors were making programming for other outlets before. It’s not like there has been a massive change because there’s been a few changes in launches. These folks were making programming and selling it to other people before.”