It has been two years since the TV program Breaking Bad was last on the air. Since then it has been on Netflix, a streaming video service.
I find four business issues here.
* First is that we have no idea how many people have watched this 42 hour Breaking Bad video. We know from some financial reports offered by Netflix, that includes the video in its subscriber service, that Breaking Bad is the most popular program and that it is one of the most important reason customers subscribe to Netflix. With an estimated 50 million Netflix subscribers and another 15 million people who viewed the show when it was on cable TV the number of people who viewed Breaking Bad could be close to 100 million. A very impressive number compared to the largest books sales. It also comes close to the domestic audiences of the top 15 movies of all time.
We don’t don’t how many people have viewed Breaking Bad, and certainly not how many have seen the entire 42 hours.
The lack of information is bad for commerce. It keeps a star product from being appropriately appreciated and imitated.
* Second, it has ruined TV and movies for me. Breaking Bad is such good theater that I find nearly everything else inadequate or tawdry in comparison. I see much less TV and fewer movies these days.
While TV viewership and movie attendance has dropped significantly in the past two years we don’t know how much this has to due with the high quality of Breaking Bad. The new high bar of entertainment.
*Third, each Breaking Bad segment is 40 minutes long. Because the TV program had to allow 20 minutes of every hour for advertising. How much does advertising interruption harm a video product? Did Breaking Bad become a success without advertising because advertising was a handicap during its initial TV run?
We know from the gross revenue growth of Google that nearly half of advertising expenditure has migrated from print images and TV interruptions to single line notices on computer and smartphone screens. How much further will this migration go?
* Fourth and last, does the fact that the storyline of Breaking Bad focuses on the success of Walter White’s meth business and his evolution as a businessman and his stunning accomplishments in generating $millions, play a role in the reason for the video’s runaway success?
Those are my questions about Breaking Bad and commerce.