Blockbuster and Movie Gallery each declared for bankruptcy in 2010, thus making movie stores a thing of the past. Other than Redbox, the vast majority of movie and TV show renting is now done over the internet. Netflix is the leader in this field, with over 65 million members in over 50 countries enjoying more than 100 million hours of movies and TV shows per day.
With the rise of Netflix, and other streaming services, has come the rise of binge-watching, watching multiple episodes of a show in rapid succession. This made me wonder, how long would it take to watch everything on Netflix?
Since Netflix recently shut down its public API, I had to create a script that grabbed the runtimes of every movie from netflixable.com. This site contains a complete listing of every movie, TV show, or mini-series currently available for US Netflix Instant subscribers.
However, the data set seemed to be compiled by hand, which resulted in numerous formatting and data entry errors. To combat this, I had to take some liberties in creating estimates for each problem that popped up. The main issue was that there is no “runtime” for a season of TV or miniseries. For TV shows, I used a formula to estimate the length of an arbitrary season and applied it to each season that was listed.
The formula took two major assumptions:
- That a typical season of television has 22 episodes
- That there are roughly the same number of half hour long shows as hour long one
Taking into account for commercials, I estimate that there is an average of 759 minutes per season of TV. Mini-series were a bit easier to estimate. They typically have at least 6 hour long episodes, so I used a rough estimate of 360 minutes for them. Based on these approximations, it would take you a total of 34,739 hours to watch everything on Netflix (including credits, because we want to get the FULL experience).
Editor’s Note: The data in this piece applies to the US Netflix experience and was from late July 2015.