At Netflix, big data can affect even the littlest things


You weren’t alone. You fired up your Netflix (s nflx) device a couple Fridays ago, happened across Orange is the New Black in your Netflix recommendations, started watching the first episode and then wondered why you’d never heard of it. Netflix’s other original programming — House of Cards and Arrested Development — received huge preavailability marketing, and they weren’t even this good.

The answer to your question, like the answer to so many other questions these days, is data. Netflix didn’t have to spend millions of dollars advertising the new show hoping you would tune in — it knew you’d see it in the recommendations, it knew you’d give it a try and it knew you’d like it. According to the company during its earnings call on Monday, “Orange is the New Black” actually had more viewers watching more hours than during its first week than its predecessors had.

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