Netflix Hits ‘Bird Box’ and ‘You’ Have Been Watched by 80 Million and 40 Million People, Respectively

If you’ve had your eyes covered by a blindfold the past two months, it’s possible that you missed the latest two trends stemming from streaming giant Netflix.

Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, announced that Netflix original film ‘Bird Box’ has been watched by over 80 million people, and Lifetime original-turned-Netflix original dead-on-arrival ‘You,’, has been watched by 40 million people. These are massive numbers by any stretch of the imagination, and prove just how much weight Netflix has to get eyeballs on content.

Two things are noteworthy, here.

First, ‘Bird Box’ isn’t really that good of a movie. I fully predict that if this thing had come out in theaters, it would have flown under the radar and probably flopped. Critically, it landed pretty neutral, with a lot of people simply expressing, ‘meh.’ But for some reason it caught on as an internet phenomenon, which propelled it to the front of everyone’s minds and social media accounts. Word spread, and it became impossible to miss. You¬†had to watch it if you wanted to be in the loop.

Second, ‘You’ was originally produced for the Lifetime Network, where it didn’t find any audience, flopping miserably. Then Netflix grabbed a hold of the show and now suddenly it’s one of the most talked about shows of the past twelve months. This one makes a little more sense, the show is fun and original in concept, similar to the likes of Dexter or American Psycho, where we’re given a glimpse into the mind of a deranged person.

But what is it about Netflix that made these two titles wildly successful?

Nathan McAlone  at Business Insider suggests that Netflix has created a FOMO machine.

This makes the most sense to me, as Netflix has found a way to get their new shows trending on social, and create a sense of unrest among a generation of television consumers that require we all watch to feel “in” with what’s popular. Whether it’s a coordinated effort, or if Netflix releases such a high quantity of content to make it impossible to fail, Netflix content has definitely been a darling of the meme lately.

I haven’t gone a day in the past two weeks without hearing someone ask, “does this bring you joy?”