New Netflix film 'Bird Box' smashes streaming record

Signage is displayed during the'Bird Box after party in the Roosevelt Ballroom during AFI FEST 2018

New Netflix film 'Bird Box' smashes streaming record

Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and all the rest fighting for streaming domination share a dedication to operating as though they're immune to the numbers-driven nature of the content business.

"Took off my blindfold this morning to discover that 45,037,125 Netflix accounts have already watched Bird Box - best first 7 days ever for a Netflix film!" the company gleefully said. That's a fair bit of Bird-watching!

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Netflix NFLX, +4.62% has avoided releasing ratings data for its shows that would reveal how many people watch them, but has from time to time claimed record viewership, typically without providing raw or historical numbers to back up their claims.

We'll point out that Netflix has over 137 million subscribers internationally, including 58 million in the USA and 79 million everywhere else. If in the latter you could not make any sounds, for fear of drawing monsters to your location, in Bird Box you're not allowed to open your eyes while you're out of your house. Most Netflix subscribers are overseas, and those subscribers often have access to streaming libraries that are much smaller than the one Netflix offers here in the States.

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Netflix, however, is keeping its viewers hooked. But Netflix accounts can be shared with multiple people, so the actual number of people who watched Bird Box may be even higher than that. But it's also important to note that Netflix is counting by accounts. For instance, could "Bird Box" director Susanne Bier use the 45 million views figure as a bargaining chip for future projects, as The Hollywood Reporter's Rebecca Keegan asked on Twitter? Given that the streaming giant nearly never reveals any numbers, it's a surprising reveal, but one, given the proliferation of Bird Box memes online, that seems to make sense.

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