Can Pizza Orders Reveal the Popularity of Your Favorite Netflix Shows?

A study tries to determine which shows cause the greatest spike in pizza deliveries.

Binge-watching Netflix is an art. (Perhaps it’s a lazy, hermit, borderline-insane art, but it’s an art nonetheless.) And there are a few things required in order to pull off the proper “binge.”

Step one? You need a show worthy of binging. Something that’s so good that after three or four episodes of auto-playing your TV asks “Are you still watching?” and you click "Continue" while laughing out loud at the sheer absurdity that you’d ever stop while there are still episodes left to view.

Step two? You need time. You’ve got to cancel plans, draw the shades—maybe put your phone on airplane mode.

And step three? You need pizza. Because if you’re going to close yourself off in the dark for 13 hours of a show on the weekend it drops, you won’t have time for cooking.

And it’s in step three that pizza startup Slice thinks there’s valuable binge-watching information to be gleaned.

Food and Wine reports that Slice, an app used for ordering pizzas from your local mom and pop restaurants, studied the data of more than 7,000 pizza orders looking for spikes on weekends that new seasons of popular series dropped on Netflix. Their theory stands that diehard fans of shows like Orange Is the New Black or House of Cards are more likely to be ordering pizza the weekends that new seasons premiere, and that increases in orders might indicate which programs are actually more popular. (As a note, Netflix doesn’t release viewing information, so there’s no real data on which of their original shows performs the best among viewers.)

So what did Slice find?

Assuming that you can draw a correlation between pizza order spikes and Netflix premiere dates (a really big “if” as it ignores all other outside factors and assumes the two are for sure related), there does in fact seem to be a spike in orders on premiere weekends. The day that House of Cards premiered for example, Slice observed a 54 percent increase in pizza orders over the weekdays prior. Black Mirror had the largest presumptive bump, with a 61 percent increase in orders over its preceding days. Other shows like Daredevil, Master of None, and Orange Is the New Black also saw similar increases in uses of Slice.

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But don't get too excited.

It’s important to point out that this data is also comparing weekends with weekdays—and it doesn’t take a statistician to figure out that weekends have a higher number of pizza orders than weekdays, regardless of what’s on TV. However, Slice does report an increase of weekend-over-weekend sales for two programs: the premiere of House of Cards saw a 17 percent increase in orders over the weekend before, while Black Mirror’s premiere possibly contributed to a 13 percent increase in orders from the previous week. But even comparing weekend to weekend, you can’t say for certain that the Netflix premieres are what caused the apparent jump in orders—bad weather or other factors could be responsible instead.

Guess we'll just have to keep ordering pizzas and binge-watching shows until there's enough data to confirm.

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