'Bird Box' movie sparks internet craze

Netflix's "Bird Box," which was streamed by more than 45 million accounts the first week of its release, has inspired a new internet challenge.

Posted: Jan 3, 2019 8:45 PM
Updated: Jan 3, 2019 8:55 PM

It's nothing new for a network to publicize its successes. But when you've flouted TV conventions, as Netflix long has, suddenly crowing about ratings -- as the streaming service did with "Bird Box," the apocalyptic movie starring Sandra Bullock -- has risked opening Pandora's box.

Media watchers have long chafed over Netflix's stubborn refusal to provide user data, insisting that such information was proprietary and irrelevant to its subscription-based business model. As a result, even those who cover Netflix and its media competitors have been left to guess at the reach of individual titles, what constitutes a "hit" by its standards and how that measures up against other more traditional entertainment sources.

Netflix had largely worn down those who have pressed for such answers -- at least, until the service boasted that "Bird Box" was the most-watched movie in its history, tweeting out that "45,037,125 Netflix accounts have already watched Bird Box — best first 7 days ever for a Netflix film!"

That claim, however, merely invited a host of related questions, among them what constituted a view by Netflix's metrics. Not surprisingly, the service appeared reluctant to provide much clarification -- seemingly caught a bit flat-footed in responding to those probing and second-guessing the numbers, given that they were unverified by any third party.

Prying open the "Bird Box" numbers also raises some questions that Netflix would clearly prefer not to deal with at the present time, starting with how its performance compares to other movies that the service has financed.

The company, for example, is in the midst of an aggressive Oscar campaign for "Roma," director Alfonso Cuaron's autobiographical, black-and-white ode to the women who raised him. Would voters like to know whether anybody beyond those on the screener circuit have seen a movie they're being asked to bestow top honors, especially in a year when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board has publicly wrestled with incorporating more popular films into the awards telecast?

For the most part, the press has been compliant in allowing Netflix to remain tight-lipped about how many people watch its offerings, even proclaiming series like "Stranger Things" and "13 Reasons Why" "hits" without much in the way of hard data -- beyond anecdotal evidence and what's cobbled together by outside entities -- to back that up.

At the same time, there has been little explanation when Netflix cancels series, leaving viewers to wonder why certain programs -- such as several of its Marvel shows -- have been dropped.

Those who favor transparency -- and not incidentally, have to make decisions about how much coverage to devote to entertainment -- surely welcome Netflix's flirtation with providing a glimpse into its inner workings, or in this case, a peek beneath its blindfold.

Given the service's track record, though, its Christmas-week break with protocol might wind up being more like Groundhog Day, with Netflix seeing the potential headaches that its claim unleashed before retreating to the comfort, safety and silence of the box that it previously occupied.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 664446

Reported Deaths: 12663
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion909511650
Lake48568884
Allen36004640
Hamilton32182398
St. Joseph30166513
Elkhart25453419
Vanderburgh21300382
Tippecanoe20143203
Johnson16407361
Porter16042276
Hendricks15877300
Clark12018181
Madison11776319
Vigo11660231
Monroe10379163
Delaware9870179
LaPorte9802198
Howard9083199
Kosciusko8582111
Bartholomew7488147
Warrick7438151
Hancock7428133
Floyd7243170
Wayne6648192
Grant6446157
Boone610989
Morgan6106126
Dubois5925112
Dearborn549969
Cass547299
Marshall5439105
Henry542594
Noble510578
Jackson465167
Shelby461991
Lawrence4193113
Harrison402564
Gibson402083
Clinton396753
Montgomery389683
DeKalb387178
Knox357885
Miami357863
Whitley350237
Huntington347377
Steuben339555
Wabash332676
Putnam331260
Ripley327862
Adams324749
Jasper318143
White297952
Jefferson295874
Daviess285696
Fayette272156
Decatur271188
Greene262080
Posey261431
Wells258675
Scott251350
LaGrange241870
Clay241444
Randolph225676
Spencer218930
Jennings216344
Washington212827
Sullivan203639
Fountain202142
Starke189051
Owen183253
Fulton179837
Jay178528
Carroll176619
Perry173736
Orange171250
Rush165322
Vermillion161442
Franklin159635
Tipton148441
Parke140016
Pike128233
Blackford120727
Pulaski107344
Newton96632
Brown95140
Benton92213
Crawford91713
Martin80314
Warren75914
Switzerland7558
Union67510
Ohio54011
Unassigned0432

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 974480

Reported Deaths: 16750
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1125851214
Cuyahoga964441832
Hamilton736841034
Montgomery47424903
Summit40474802
Butler35678505
Lucas35588685
Stark29495803
Warren22510271
Lorain22111414
Mahoning19532537
Lake18471318
Clermont18459201
Delaware16537116
Licking15037189
Fairfield14587180
Trumbull14381413
Greene13626218
Medina13448226
Clark12319248
Wood11604163
Portage11078164
Allen10804216
Richland10334183
Miami10048189
Muskingum8204112
Columbiana8160200
Pickaway8079107
Tuscarawas8063227
Marion8006125
Wayne7898193
Erie6925140
Ross6161128
Geauga6097136
Hancock6013116
Ashtabula5993152
Scioto597780
Lawrence527218
Union515237
Darke5040114
Belmont497659
Huron4838107
Jefferson4814107
Sandusky4785108
Seneca4709107
Washington470991
Athens465447
Mercer459180
Auglaize456480
Shelby442479
Knox4045101
Putnam400090
Madison394253
Ashland381381
Fulton381258
Defiance372983
Brown372244
Crawford359096
Logan356072
Preble353678
Clinton341152
Highland328649
Ottawa324869
Williams302962
Jackson290745
Champaign289249
Guernsey288444
Perry270447
Fayette269441
Morrow260934
Henry247058
Hardin246558
Holmes243493
Coshocton238054
Van Wert230154
Gallia223131
Adams217436
Pike216026
Wyandot211747
Hocking194754
Carroll181641
Paulding160530
Meigs135930
Noble129333
Monroe116927
Morgan101119
Harrison100724
Vinton76613
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 22°
Angola
Clear
25° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 19°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
24° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 24°
Fort Wayne
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 22°
Lima
Partly Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 16°
Seasonal Saturday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events