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IS NETFLIX’S ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING PULLING IN HBO’S FAITHFUL?

Jul 31, 2016 | Insights

To get you up to speed, give the first part of this series of entries a quick perusal here. Then maybe check out the second part. Regret is unlikely.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

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Where would we be without balers? We who live away from the world of agriculture, and the farms of this great land do not understand just how essential this powerful piece of farm equipment is. That HBO dedicated a whole series to cutting and compressing crops, and the piece of machinery which makes that possible, speaks volumes as to its import.

A pile of hay is swell, but a bale of hay, now we’re talking.

Hold on, my boss wants to talk to me for a second…

Ballers, as it turns out, is an HBO original series starring Duane “The Rock” Johnson, a gentleman who will forever be in my good graces — hate as I generally do the WWE’s so-called “Attitude Era” — for calling his finishing move, which was a simple elbow drop, “The People’s Elbow.” A product of a wrestling dynasty — not only his dad, but cousins and uncles too — Johnson brought little touches of old school class like that to the largely profane and unfun period of wrestling that was the 90s.

Brought to TV, at least in part, by Entourage co-producer, Stephen Levinson, the show tells the story of an ex pro-football player, portrayed by Johnson (who played college ball himself) who is now supporting himself as a financial manager for sports pros, in Miami.

HBO wins the showdown, but for one show. What these polls have revealed is that the cable giant’s original programming (seemingly at least) unshakeable champion is Game of Thrones. Even those who seems to spend more, or even most, of their time on Netflix cannot resist the comings and goings of the residents of Westeros.

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In terms of “multiple,” Netflix emerges victorious, with its tales of political intrigue and shady, backroom beltway shenanigans. Brit comedian Oliver’s fans are five times more likely to spend their hours with the Kevin Spacey around whom you should watch your back than the average social media user.

It nearly goes without saying who tops the HBO list, but Oliver’s fellow in overt political commentary on Home Box, the ever-controversial Maher, will find that Oliver’s fans are twice as likely than the average user to also watch his show.

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The now canceled dramedy about a group of gay friends in San Francisco, may only find a little less than 3 1/2% of its audience following the exploits of the residents of Lena Dunham’s fictionalized Brooklyn. But its audience is still nearly 12 times more likely than the average social media user to peer in on Hannah Horvath, in her various states of think-piece inspiring undress.

In this case, with Looking already being a modestly rated show for HBO at best, the Netflix numbers just can’t compete. While approaching three times more likely to watch House of Cards, and two and a half times more likely to watch OITNB than the average, only 1 and 2% of its audience, respectively, actually watched those shows.

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While there are technically results for Netflix’s programming, as StatSocial records everything, it seems Mr. Gumbel’s weekly viewership doesn’t much make the leap to streaming. All results are what we would call “radically under-indexed” meaning, well below the baseline, of the average social media user’s behavior.

On the flipside, the HBO numbers while modest, are all but for one show — ironically, the one with sports as its central motif — above the baseline. In raw numbers our old faithful universe of George R.R. Martin and his cast of eternally-being-killed characters rules. But in terms of “multiple,” the metric we’re focusing on here, its Real Sports’ fellow non-fiction show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, that tops the heap.

Be proud, Mr. Oliver.

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We made a whole bunch of mumblecore wisecracks at the Duplass brothers’ expense before, so we’ll just link you to that and get on with it.

It seems a trend that shows that were already relatively low-rated on HBO, are “radically under-indexed” when it comes to their Netflix viewing numbers. Make of that what you will, but it seems to suggest that only the most hardcore HBO viewers were even watching Looking or Togetherness in the first place.

But, the Duplasses have achieved sweet “over-indexing” with one Netflix show, the enormously popular Orange is the New Black; of which a Togetherness fan is nearly 2 3/4 more likely to be a fan than the average social media-er. Otherwise, I guess they’re acquiring OITNB via shady means, or watching it at a friend’s, as, well… Look for yourself. Not big Netflix viewers.

On the other hand, Togetherness’ home team is killing it, with Ms. Dunham’s directionless soon-to-be thirty-somethings over 12 times more likely to find favor with the Togetherness crowd than the average (there’s a mumblecore kinship here, but I linked to that entry above and that will hopefully send you in the right direction for further research if truly curious).

Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger’s extraordinarily silly show about the New York music industry in the 70s was nearly seven times more likely to find favor with this group, for some reason.

And, of course, Mr. Martin’s dragons, and that charming Tyrion Lannister, nearly six times more likely to find favor among the Duplass’ faithful than the average.

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We’ll reserve our opinions on the man himself, but — while following our grandma’s advice of staying mum if you’ve nothing nice to say — we will point out that he doesn’t go out of his way to cultivate a likable persona. He does seem popular, though.

Netflix, however, means little to his audience. The political intrigue of House of Cards has captured the attention of enough of his audience that statistically his crowd is twice as likely to revel in the exploits of Frank Underwood than the average. Otherwise, it’s virtually statistically insignificant.

Maher and his HBO political commentary colleague, Mr. Oliver, seems to share some audience, but really after that only the ubiquitous Game of Thrones makes a mark.

What, do these people subscribe to HBO just to watch Maher? Goodness help them, if so. (Obviously HBO shows all sorts of stuff not covered in this “study” — we’re kidding.)

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Hit us up on Twitter if you have any thoughts on anything we’ve written here, or any thoughts at all really.

Watch this space as more fun is always coming!

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To learn much more about StatSocial, the curious are encouraged to visit the StatSocial site itself, where you’ll find all sorts of stuff including sample reports.

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If you like what you’ve read, please take a few minutes to watch this overview of StatSocial’s data:

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