'Arrested Development' Season 4 Causes Surge in Broadband Traffic Over Memorial Day Weekend

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May 28th, 2013

Arrested Development Season 4 Cast

Since Netflix does not release data on its programming, the best source for information about the fourth season of Arrested Development, which was released Sunday, is via broadband tracking service Procera. Here are some highlights from its blog post about the launch.

via press note:

Arrested Development had serious social networking buzz before the launch and due to a built-in audience that fondly remembered the series during it’s original run, expectations were high. From our perspective, the launch was a success, and did have a noticeable affect on network traffic.

Here are a few highlights from the viewing stats:

-       One DSL network had an astounding 36% of devices watching Netflix on Sunday watch at least part of one episode of Arrested Development. This was over 3x the number we saw for House of Cards (which had 11% viewing).

-       Preliminary numbers show about 10% of viewers made it to Episode 15 on Sunday/Monday (More on this later today as we get data collated).

-       One cable network saw a jump in Netflix traffic peak volumes of 10% on Sunday over the previous Sunday, with a corresponding 8% jump in the number of subscribers accessing Netflix overall. Even though this was a holiday weekend, Arrested Development was a significant contributor to that traffic jump.

-       Peak usage for Arrested Development on Netflix on Sunday was twice that traffic seen on Monday, with a range of 2-7% of total Netflix traffic on various networks being directly attributable to Arrested Development.

-       Arrested Development made an appearance on European mobile networks, with one operator seeing ~.01% of overall active subscribers accessing Arrested Development through their PC/Mac systems. This is significant even though the total subscriber counts were low because this was an “unlimited” operator, where Netflix is a much smaller portion of the traffic than on fixed line networks. I suspect much of this was for Fixed Mobile Substitution, where the customer only has a mobile broadband connection and skips a fixed line connection.

-       Arrested Development represented 10% of all Netflix traffic on one University network in the US.

-       Xbox and PS3s generated the most traffic for Arrested Development on fixed line networks. This is pretty common on most networks, with consoles usually being the favored Netflix viewing device, as well as supporting the highest resolution streaming today.

-       There was significant file sharing activity for the Arrested Development episodes, even though this was a streaming only, DRMed connection.

As you might expect, we saw a pattern of episodes appearing on the network as people cycled through the series, with Episode 1 starting early, and other episodes coming on later in the day, indicating that most people watched them in order. We did not get the monitoring in place until around 9:30AM as you can see, but we saw the episodes appear at a pretty regular pace throughout the day. Here is a timeline from one of our networks when the episodes first made an appearance by generating traffic on the network:

  • Bitter Ringer Fan

    Lots of numbers but apparently it was a successful launch. It’s a shame it’s the final season, hopefully the movie will happen eventually

  • SteveStrifeX

    Sounds like good news for Arrested Development! I’m already five episodes in, so far I’m enjoying this new season. Here’s hoping for a season 5!

  • Samunto

    Got in on the fun yesterday evening. The first couple of episodes did indeed feel like ‘homework’ as some critic put it but it could have been that some of us may have lost abit of touch after the years.

    I had to stop at episode 10. Final five starting now.

    Though given how most episodes were north of 30mins this was clearly more than a regular 22episode season packaged as 15.
    You wonder how much content is usually left on the cutting floor!

    Netflix rocks!

  • RJ

    I think people are going to rush to watch Arrested Development and within the week traffic will be back to normal on Netflix. Shows like House of Cards seem like they’ll sustain the viewers to watch over a longer period of time.

  • Rebecca

    I liked the first and third episodes more than the second. Saw two on Sunday and one yesterday with no problems on the Droid’s Netflix app. That’s all I’m up through so far. I had heard this would be it, though, just the one season with Netflix. No movie or further seasons. So, I’ll enjoy it for what it is. And it’s too bad the press note above spelled “its” incorrectly in their first paragraph (they used “it’s”).

  • FLOP detector

    Blah blah blah

    Stil Arrested FLOPvelopment

    The fact is that fox gave it 3 seasons only because they had hope on the series to become a new Seinfeld.


  • Snoopy

    1 more episode to go….
    Signed up for trial just for AD.

  • Lance B.

    may be a spoiler but this cannot be the final season.. this season open up more questions than answered.. i believe this season was part 1 of a 3 part story arc, so maybe another season and movie..

  • Rebecca

    That is a great deal – I think you get one month free? I kept forgetting to mention that whenever the topic of AD came up in other threads…there are people who pay for HBO and other cable channels so they’re not going to try Netflix just to see AD, but if they just do it for the free month (when they haven’t ever tried it before) they can just watch all of Arrested Development’s new season before quitting at the end of the free trial period. Anyway, we have Netflix through our Wii system so we often stream stuff on the big TV (when I’m alone or have to use headphones I stream on the Droid phone). Too bad instant viewing doesn’t yet work on Linux operating systems (only Windows), or I could stream on the PC too.

  • James C.

    @Flop Just like Family Guy was a flop … until analyzing its cult fanbase showed it would make money if they brought it back.

  • merrranga


  • Doug

    Can you please add the word Flop to the spam filter?

    ENOUGH. Is the average age of these posters 9?

  • Tested

    Netflix saw a big drop in stock price today because critics gave the new season mixed reviews. These stats should calm investors fears.

  • Kit

    Very disappointing after the first few seasons which were really great. Some of the scenes in this seasons actually still have watermarks left over from poor editing.

  • Kit

    They should be embarassed to end a great show with a season that is still full of watermarks on many scenes from very bad editing.

  • Rick

    @Kit: The watermarks are a JOKE. Notice how they only play over flashbacks from seasons 1-3 and that the label is “Showstealer Trial Pro Version”

  • Brad



  • roly


  • roly

    sadly ending too soon.

  • jake66

    Like Rick said, the watermarks are intentional to make it look like they had to steal the scenes online/off dvd because they wanted to make it look like they couldn’t get the rights to the first 3 seasons. It’s a great running joke. As if they would use trial software to edit the show…

    Loser that I am, I watched all four seasons in a week and a half. The 4th season was kind of odd, but once you get used to the way they handle each ep it’s cool and unique. Full 30 minute episodes were awesome! There are some significant changes with the characters and there is a wth happened physically to that person moment – obviously time takes a toll. I have to say it’s a wee bit more on the angst-y side than I was expecting and the family interaction wasn’t quite the same. There are some truly hilarious bits and the usual snark and double entendres fly continuously. Some stuff dragged on too long – there was a particular ep that I found unnerving and way over the top (not pleasant), but overall, I enjoyed the season and they left you wanting more. As always, Jessica Walter is fabulous. I won’t spoil, but young Lucille… I love who plays her (it was a surprise to me) – awesome job.

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