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"Bridgerton" Helps Propel Netflix to Record High Monthly and Holiday Viewership Numbers

By Eric Volkman - Jan 5, 2021 at 4:42PM

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Shonda Rhimes' new series was the company's most-viewed offering in 76 countries.

With a large percentage of its audience essentially locked at home, Netflix ( NFLX -2.33% ) finished 2020 in style. As reported by Bloomberg, the streaming entertainment king said that it set fresh all-time records for both the month of December and the week that included Christmas. Specifically, for both periods it topped its highs for total viewership hours and average hours per viewer.

One new offering that helped Netflix capture many of those eyeballs was Bridgerton from top-shelf producer Shonda Rhimes. The period TV series, Rhimes' first effort for the company, debuted during the month and was viewed by 63 million households in the four weeks after its release.

A couple sitting closely together on a couch, watching TV while sharing a bowl of popcorn.

Image source: Getty Images.

That wasn't enough to make it the most-viewed Netflix offering globally during the year. That honor belongs to Spanish crime saga Money Heist and the documentary Tiger King. But Bridgerton did hit No. 1 in 76 countries, including the U.S.

Although it's early days, the impact of Bridgerton seems to validate Netflix's gamble on Rhimes. The company famously spent over $100 million to lure her to the service to produce exclusive content like the series. If the show's early success is any indication, more crowd-pleasers can be expected.

We also shouldn't be surprised to witness more encouraging subscriber growth than that posted in the company's third quarter. In her previous work, Rhimes managed to build massive audiences, particularly with the wildly popular and long-running Grey's Anatomy. Now that her shop is up and operational at Netflix, we can imagine that many viewers of her earlier series will become Netflix subscribers to keep following her efforts.

Despite the happy news, Netflix stock dipped on Tuesday, sliding down 0.4% in contrast to the 0.7% gain of the S&P 500 index.

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