StoryScout 2024

Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

NETFLIX DOCUMENTARIES, UK: The Top 20 Originals in 2019 from Parrot Analytics. Plus UK & U.S. Demand for Documentaries Compared

The demand for Netflix documentaries in the UK reveals more similarities than differences compared with the U.S.

  • That’s according to research firm Parrot Analytics which measures online audience demand for programs across all platforms.
  • Parrot’s Demand Expressions® is a valuable workaround for Netflix’s notorious black hole for information about its audience.

Measuring Audience Demand

Here are the UK Top 20 and my brief Takeaways:

Top 20 Netflix Documentary Originals
United Kingdom
Demand Expressions / Capita
January 1 – July 7, 2019

RankTitle Daily Demand
1Making A Murderer        1.6642
2Our Planet        1.3259
3The Chef Show        1.1446
4Conversations With A Killer: … Ted Bundy…        0.7526
5Wild Wild Country        0.6934
6Sunderland ’till I Die        0.6653
7Formula 1: Drive To Survive        0.6385
8Evil Genius: … America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist        0.5081
9Street Food        0.3839
10Chef’s Table        0.3592
11Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened        0.2974
12Knock Down The House        0.2672
13The Confession Tapes        0.2533
14The Staircase        0.2112
15Dirty Money        0.2008
16The Keepers        0.1954
17Dark Tourist        0.1752
18Last Chance U        0.1447
19Abstract: The Art Of Design        0.1224
20Flint Town        0.1084

Source: Parrot Analytics
* Average Demand Expressions® per 100 Capita over Date Range


  • Parrot’s Demand Expressions® is a very useful and widely subscribed tool for programmers to value the online impact of programs, content brands and genres.
  • Note that measures of online engagement deliver strategic and commercial insights, but they don’t sell soap powder like the data syndicated by the Nielsen-type ‘dinosaur’ ratings services.

U.S. vs UK Rankings

  • Netflix is a global platform that exploits the efficiencies of programs that can be licensed for all territories.
    • The lists are very similar: only 5 out of 20 UK Top 20 shows are not in the U.S. list, and they are all ranked below #9.
    • The surprise US #1 Who Shot The Sheriff about Bob Marley doesn’t rank in UK – maybe the rights weren’t available?
    • Most of the UK Top 20 are series or limited series.
  • Crime leads all genres in both territories.
  • Sports is higher in UK:
  • Lifestyle / Cooking ranks somewhat higher in UK.
  • David Attenborough ranks #2 in UK versus #4 in US, and Our Planet is the only Wildlife series in both lists.
  • My new study Netflix: What You Need To Know Now! provides a database of 130+ Netflix Originals & acquisitions, with valuable information about the streamer’s business model and eco-system. Read more here, including my list of 20 key Netflix buyers…

Comparing Documentaries vs Scripted

  • The “Scale Difference” column below calculates the multiple in Demand for the Scripted vs Unscripted show at each rank from 1 – 20.
    • For example, in the UK, Stranger Things registers 5.7 times the Demand expressed for the #1 Making A Murderer.
    • The comparable US multiple for Scripted is 6.2X.
    • The Documentary genre is significantly more popular in UK than the U.S. for Netflix subscribers as it is for terrestrial channel viewers.
  • With a little extra math, we find that Stranger Things registers 9X the Demand for Our Planet in UK versus 12X in the US.
  • Read more Takeaways in my U.S. Top 20 Originals coverage. Editorial Assistant: Christine Watson

Top 20 Netflix Scripted Originals
United Kingdom
Demand Expressions / Capita
January 1 – July 7, 2019

RankTitle Daily
1Stranger Things        9.01645.4
2Lucifer        5.99254.5
3Black Mirror        5.81385.1
4When They See Us        3.90795.2
5Narcos        3.78145.5
6You        2.99444.5
7Designated Survivor        2.71684.3
8The OA        2.43794.8
9The Crown        2.23945.8
1013 Reasons Why        2.14926.0
11The Society        2.10827.1
12House Of Cards        2.10197.9
13Ozark        1.88147.4
14Love Death And Robots        1.79758.5
15Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events        1.59227.9
16The Haunting Of Hill House        1.57098.0
17Altered Carbon        1.48718.5
18Travelers        1.486710.3
19Dark        1.441911.8
20Roma        1.376312.7

Source: Parrot Analytics
* Average Demand Expressions® per 100 Capita over Date Range

Demand Expressions®

  • Demand Expressions® is the global TV measurement standard developed by Parrot Analytics that represents the total audience demand being expressed for a title within a market.
  • Audience demand reflects the desire, engagement and viewership, weighted by importance.
  • A stream/download is a higher expression of demand than a ‘like’/comment.

About Parrot Analytics

  • Parrot Analytics is the leading global content demand analytics company for the multi-platform TV business. With the world’s largest TV audience demand datasets, the company currently tracks more than 1.5B daily expressions of demand in over 100 languages from 200+ countries to reveal the content consumers engage with and watch the most across platforms.
  • Parrot Analytics is a trusted partner to some of the biggest media companies and content creators in the world, helping them optimize content workflows in real time. Partnering with companies across the entire content supply chain, from agencies to global direct-to-consumer platforms, Parrot Analytics helps drive better production, distribution, acquisition and marketing decisions, as well as increased subscriber growth and retention.
  • The company has offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Singapore and Auckland. Connect with us on YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • For more information, see