When Netflix chose a release date for its docuseries Tiger King, there’s no way the streaming giant could’ve known that the world would go into lockdown, and the show would become an instantaneous social media hit thanks to a captive audience. For a month straight, the strange adventures of Joe Exotic and his rival, Carole Baskin, have dominated headlines and even resulted in a quickly-produced bonus episode starring Joel McHale, so it’s no surprise that Netflix is now reporting huge numbers for the viral series. But as ubiquitous as Tiger King seems to be, the show just narrowly missed landing the top spot of most-watched series, according to Deadline:
In an investor letter released today for the Reed Hastings-run streamer’s Q1 earnings report in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and widespread stay-at-home orders, the sordid saga of the now imprisoned Joe Exotic, big cats, betrayal and more was watched by 64 million households around the planet over its first month of release.
To give a further global context, that blockbuster number for Tiger King is slightly exceeded by the Season 4 launch of the suspenseful La Casa de Papel AKA Money Heist, which dropped on April 3. The latest eight-episode of the Álex Pina created Spanish language worldwide hit has had 65 million households, according to the investor letter Netflix put out after the closing bell today.
Of course, it’s important to note that these numbers are coming directly from Netflix, which has been notoriously secret about protecting its internal data from third party verification. On top of that, the streaming service recently revealed that it implemented a controversial change to its viewing metrics. Before, audiences had to watch at least 70% of an episode or movie for it to count as a “view.” Now, merely watching the first two minutes is enough to qualify for a view. This change resulted in some healthy skepticism around the actual success of Netflix’s The Witcher and 6 Underground, and it will presumably raise a few eyebrows in regards to the real viewership size for Tiger King.