Year 2020 in Review

Between January 1 and December 31 2020, the alpha60 team sampled between 55 and 60 media properties. Of these, 55 media properties have been fully analyzed to date and have detailed swarm distribution results.

For the 2020 sample set of 55 media properties, the alpha60 team found 221,331,203 unique peers, which means that the total universe of all sampled peers is at least 4 times bigger due to a methodology that uses a minimum of 4x oversampling. Upshot:  more than one billion peers were sampled over the last year.

Some trends:

  • Many delayed releases. This is due to COVID-19 and release dates resetting multiple times. Release dates became hazy mid-spring for all planned titles and only become solid two weeks before the individual media property’s final release date.
  • More “slightly early” releases of content on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video and other streaming platforms. This was the year that “released at midnight PST” might mean that content starts streaming at nine or ten pm PST.
  • More two-part and multi-part releases where part one was released and then the release date for part two was only vaguely hinted at, like “early 2021.” Looking at you, Euphoria. Where the two part episodes part of Season 1, a coda? A preview of Season 2? Pirates didn’t know what to call this, with all those naming options plus Season 00 making an appearance. This continues in 2021, especially with the Lupin relese. Part two? Part one extra? Both styles are in play…
  • Rise of non-USA productions selling content to USA-based streaming platforms. Global content got mined by established media companies in the USA for domestic release, even if it premiered elsewhere. Big Chinese film ventures like Vanguard, Russian, Korean, Ukranian Sci-Fi genre films, Polish romance genre films on Netflix, pretty much any dusty tin with media that any studio had on the shelves from 2017 to 2020 got released in some form this year.
  • Film releases in 2020 were noticeably strong and have started to compete with multiple episodes of the large streaming shows for dominance in raw numbers. Mulan, Tenet, Wonder Woman 1984: all very strong film releases with lots of demand on the internet, regardless of what happened with the theatrical box office in USA and Europe.
  • Average sample durations for peer to peer activity have increased for all media objects.  The standard sample length is  now 10 weeks, the long sample length is 15 weeks, and the extra long sample length is 26 weeks. The extra long sample length is based on anonymous feedback from Disney+/Hulu and is meant to track the internal metrics this platform uses to assess streaming performance. More to the point, streaming metrics *in general* are much longer than the  3-, 5-, 10- and 21- day metrics common in traditional television analysis of yore, and are now approaching the lengths of traditional film box office scorekeeping, aka yearly results. Stay tuned. Three week results are no longer super useful when it may take 1, 2, or 3 episodes to wake up busy and or otherwise distracted streaming customers such that they pay attention to new offerings.

Some questions:

  • After spending USD $6B, where are the viewers for Apple TV+?
  • Where is the Netflix Original besides The Queen’s Gambit that over-performed? What SciFi genre series will Netflix continue past 2-4 seasons now that Dark and Altered Carbon are done?
  • Are all the top streaming platforms at parity for the superhero-genre, with Disney+ using Marvel Universe properties, Netflix with Umbrella Academy, HBO with Doom Patrol, and Amazon with The Boys?
  • Where does CBS All Access / Paramount Plus fit in to the streaming cosmology, with a hybrid domestic-only streaming app and international distribution on Netflix? Is this even sustainable?
  • Why does Paramount issue take-downs for infringement? They are the only production company that does this. Why are their takedowns so lackadaisical and incomplete? This performative notice is annoying, bordering on harassment.

In order of total unique peers (even though not all media objects have the same sample lengths), here is the ranked list:

  1. 25,041,652 Mulan 2020 (disney+)
  2. 21,138,618 The Mandalorian 108 (disney+)
  3. 12,815,566 Altered Carbon 2 (netflix)
  4. 12,259,385 Tenet (warner/hbo)
  5. 11,939,873 The Expanse 4 (amazon)
  6. 11,765,968 The Boys 201 (amazon)
  7. 8,946,683 High Fidelity (hulu)
  8. 8,683,355 The Boys 208 (amazon)
  9. 5,902,010 Wonder Woman 1984 (warner/hbo)
  10. 5,589,826 The Mandalorian 208 (disney+)
  11. 5,148,969 Westworld 301 (hbo)
  12. 4,872,366 Westworld 308 (hbo)
  13. 4,634,065 Doom Patrol 201 (hbo)
  14. 4,571,681 The Mandalorian 201 (disney+)
  15. 4,480,923 The Umbrella Academy 2
  16. 4,307,513 Tales From The Loop 1
  17. 4,271,245 Star Trek Picard 10
  18. 4,257,564 Dark 3
  19. 4,039,414 Hamilton
  20. 3,828,119 Narcos Mexico 2
  21. 3,810,772 BoJack Horseman 6
  22. 3,468,080 Da 5 Bloods
  23. 3,046,284 Lovecraft Country 101
  24. 2,988,239 The Watchmen 109
  25. 2,981,190 Vanguard
  26. 2,725,944 Raised By Wolves 110
  27. 2,674,561 Marvelous Mrs. Maisel 3
  28. 2,516,385 What We Do In The Shadows 210
  29. 2,323,578 Upload 1
  30. 2,194,750 Solar Opposites 1
  31. 2,096,363 Black Is King
  32. 1,968,373 The Walking Dead 1008
  33. 1,776,270 The Lovebirds
  34. 1,618,769 Folklore
  35. 1,518,672 Devs 4
  36. 1,343,292 Space Force 1
  37. 1,258,184 Biohackers 1
  38. 1,164,404 Altered Carbon Resleeved 2020
  39. 1,096,162 Queer Eye 2020 4
  40. 999,773 Happiest Season
  41. 971,091 Jamtara: Sabka Number Ayega 1
  42. 897,926 Songbird
  43. 867,812 #blackAF 1
  44. 829,247 The Expanse 501
  45. 822,838 Japan Sinks
  46. 774,199 Avenue 5 101
  47. 763,907 Star Trek: Lower Decks 101
  48. 737,784 Lovecraft Country 110
  49. 677,753 Away 1
  50. 593,538 The Tiger King and I & Extras 1
  51. 460,092 The Good Fight 407
  52. 427,316 Control Z 1
  53. 368,039 Euphoria Special 1
  54. 41,592 Ferhat Ile Sirin 1
  55. 33,229 Kurulus Osmon 1