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Netflix Lost Its Chill: Viewership Went Down During the Solar Eclipse

People were looking at the sky when they normally would be watching their screens.

Actress and Royal Caribbean Adventurist, Shay Mitchell bears witness to the Great American Eclipse aboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, on Monday, Aug. 21. The ship set sail along the path of totality, offering Mitchell and fellow passengers an unobstructed view at seaRoyal Caribbean Total Eclipse Viewing Party - 21 Aug 2017

Watching the August 2017 total solar eclipse


Never underestimate the power of the moon.

The solar eclipse on Monday that was visible across the United States stopped people from working enough to get outside, socialize with strangers, and stare at the sun using the appropriate retina-saving gear. By extension, this meant that a good chunk of people were looking at the sky when they normally would be watching their screens.

That evening, long after the celestial event occurred, Netflix assessed its viewership and noticed something funny. Its numbers were down during a specific portion of the day. The percentage was so large that the streaming service shared its findings in a couple of tweets:

This is the closest that Netflix has come to releasing viewership numbers. The streaming giant accounts for more than 50 million subscribers, more than the country’s largest cable company. A 10 percent drop is significant. Disgruntled Twitter users offered some unhelpful counter-programming advice such as renewing “Sense8” for a full third season instead of just a wrap-up movie or calling for the return of shows like  “Bob’s Burgers” or the pickup of shows like “Hannibal.” Really, this amounted to viewers treating this tweet as if it were a customer service call:

Of course, Netflix also could’ve created live-streamed eclipse coverage, which many other networks and websites were wise enough to do. PBS even had eclipse programming opposite the presidential address.

The huge turnout for the eclipse shouldn’t have been a surprise. This was literally a once-in-a-lifetime event for many since this is the first time in 99 years that a total solar eclipse has spanned the United States. That’s a live event that can’t be beat.

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