What if we tell you that the Netflix hit series Stranger Things almost didn’t see the light of day? Yes. Reports say that it was rejected by 15 other networks. And perhaps this is the reason:
Unlike in the Philippines, it takes a lot of approval before a television series gets produced and loved by the viewers in the United States. There, a showrunner, with the producer or network’s approval, will have to produce the first episode and show it to the network representatives before a full season is ordered. In the same manner, several people decide on sticking through with a series based on the first episode as well.
But this is changing; the behavior and pattern of the viewers evolve as well. And the interesting part is, this trend is also catching on in the Philippines.
When Do We Commit?
In a study from the popular video-on-demand service Netflix, Filipino viewers are now more open to immersing themselves further into the series that they will watch before deciding if they will finish the series or not. In short: They do not make decisions based on the pilot episode anymore. Netflix data shows that Filipino viewers get hooked into its shows Narcos and Breaking Bad by episode 3. Meanwhile, the 5th episode of House of Cards and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt drives Filipino viewers to watch the entire series.
Moreover, the themes resonant in the indicated episodes are reflective of the things that instantly interest Filipinos. Themes of vengeance, bravery, scandal, and raw emotions are the ones that switch the on button to Pinoys' fandom to a show (let’s face it, isn’t that essentially is also what’s happening to our society today?).
We’re All in This Together
As mentioned, there are specific nuances to the way Filipinos digest their series. In fact, these are unique to the Philippines. For example, Filipino viewers easily get hooked early on with shows that allow them to live vicariously through law-breaking characters featured in shows such as Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, How to Get Away with Murder, and Narcos. Filipinos also prefer a long brew for their dose of superhero justice with Marvel’s Daredevil and Jessica Jones.
But despite these, Netflix says that this behavior is observable practically worldwide. In fact, members in the Philippines were drawn to the world of Narcos in the same episode as those in Argentina (episode 3) while fear of the unknown had fans in Singapore and France reeling for Stranger Things (episode 2). Meanwhile, love had viewers in South Korea, India, Italy, and Ireland smitten with Gilmore Girls (episode 8). Regardless of whether they live in the Philippines or Poland, Singapore or Sweden, members around the world are not only getting hooked on similar episodes, but identifying with similar storylines.
As emphasized by Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos in the study, great, original stories resonate worldwide despite cultural differences—especially when “commercial breaks and appointment viewings are stripped away.”
Time to Celebrate
This evolution of viewing behavior works best for both the viewers and the showrunners. For viewers, it works for them that there are available options such as video-on-demand applications, such as Netflix. This way, they can dictate the pace by which they will watch, consume, and digest the shows that they are interested in. That way, they can fully immerse themselves in the progression of the story and organically form an attachment to the characters and their lives. Meanwhile, storytellers are not pressured to put everything in on the first episode, which may ruin their intended flow of the story. This way, they can let their plotlines evolve freely, without the constraints of approval and premature judgment.
Ultimately, Filipinos are up for a celebration—wherein various options for their viewing experiences are within their reach. The control that they have is more expansive. And alongside the rest of the world, delve deeper into the psyches and nuances of various stories—regardless of where the series even originated.
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