Shonda Rhimes’s first scripted Netflix original series “Bridgerton” premiered on December 25, 2020. The wildly popular series, adapted from the Julia Quinn novels, was watched by 29 million households in the United States in its first 28 days.
We dug deeper into the data and were blown away by the show’s strong performance throughout its initial 28 days. Most new content consumption is front-loaded, and the majority of viewing hours occur in the first seven days. It’s not often we see 67% of a show’s 28-day viewership take place between day 8 and day 28, highlighting how the show’s continuing popularity throughout the entire period. Moreover, it’s interesting to visualize the momentum the “Bridgerton” series carried after its initial two weeks. More than half of the viewing households (56.1%) completed watching the entire season, with an average binge rate of nine days.
The Netflix series was not only successful in its own right, but it also provided a corresponding boost to sales of the “Bridgerton” book series by Julia Quinn. In the year ending April 24, year-over-year print book sales for the “Bridgerton” series increased more than 3,000%. In fact, sales rose so quickly that there were retail shortages of print books, which led many readers to purchase e-books, rather than wait for the print versions to become available. Quinn’s growth in the e-book format grew more than 8,000% in January 2021 compared to January 2020.
When lining up the format share by book, the first book in the series had the highest print share, likely due to greater availability of the series tie-in editions, and the second book is where readers really turned to the e-book format. This finding reinforces the idea that readers will rely on the e-book format when acquiring a harder-to-find next title in a genre series, especially in the romance category, when they’re eager to continue the story immediately.
The success of Bridgerton resulted in the green light for season two which will clearly benefit from the massive buzz and awareness of its first season. As with other successful series we’ll be looking at key metrics like how many viewers re-watch the first season leading into the release of the second season. “Bridgerton” book sales are also expected to rise, yet again. And, success stories like this are helping publishers learn how to better quantify the massive impact streaming has on print book sales. Expect better stocked retail shelves when season two comes to Netflix.