Dahmer- Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story Passes 1B Hours Viewed

With the rise in interest in podcasts alongside some solid video productions, 2022 has been something of the year for True Crime fare. It’s probably not a genre that featured in anyone’s best-performing category choices for the year! Likewise, we doubt many predicted that Netflix, despite a generally lackluster 2022, would manage to cross the 1B hours viewed threshold not once, but three times, in the last 2-year period. Entertainment lawyer and industry expert, Brandon Blake, from Blake & Wang P.A, unpacks this small victory.

Three in Two Years

Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story joins Squid Game and the fourth season of Stranger Things as the third Netflix series to cross 1B viewing hours in its first 60 days. It has also spent seven weeks on Netflix’s Global Top 10, managing to make the list in 92 countries. This makes it the second most popular English language series for them of all time, coming in just behind Stranger Things 4. Squid Game still tops the list as its most popular TV production to date. 

Building on True Crime

On the back of this unexpected success, Netflix has also announced it will be making two more series under the Monster banner, again tracking ‘monstrous figures’ who have impacted society. While Dahmer was not without its critics, it does at least put a focus on the victims of the notorious serial killer, as well as spotlight the apathy and questionable police work that allowed his multi-year killing spree despite several opportunities to intervene.

In a TV production world where glitzy, special-effects heavy fare like Game of Thrones has become the norm for the top viewing categories, it’s worth highlighting that two of the best Netflix series of all time now feature barely any fancy tech and post-production effects. Squid Games was notably low-key despite its huge cult following, and Dahmer required little but some period-appropriate costuming and shooting choices. While neither was exactly ‘low budget’ fare, it again demonstrates that top-end spectacle is not the only thing that sells to audiences. There’s still plenty of room for solid storytelling and mid-tier production budgets that emphasize the viewer experience, not the majesty of special effects and post-production work.

The lack of film production at the mid-tier level has been a noted thorn in the side of the overall Box Office recovery this year. While spectacular blockbusters and tentpoles have done dazzlingly well, both for their bottom lines and for driving feet through cinema doors, the lack of a solid mid-tier slate to build on that recovery and pad out new offerings to keep interested audiences coming back for more has been very notable, and in particular can be blamed for the downfall of the fall Box Office in 2022.

Are the TV and film markets totally comparable? Of course not, but we can still view Dahmer as yet another lesson in the fact that great storytelling and strong production values, with a little marketing hype thrown in for good measure, can sell a film or TV project just as well as action-packed special effects sequences. Hopefully 2022 will prove the year that all distributors and studios take that lesson on board, and we can look forward to a more diverse and engaging- and above all full- content slate across the board for 2023.

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