Killing Eve is enjoying a renaissance on Netflix, and the hit show has got an unlikely group to thank for its success

Villanelle holds onto Eve's right hand after dinner in Killing Eve
Killing Eve chalked up over 700 million minutes streamed in its first week on Netflix. (Image credit: BBC)

Killing Eve, the stylish and sexually tense BBC thriller that was a critical and commercial hit in the UK between 2018 and 2022, has found new life on Netflix – and it's all down to an unexpected age group.

The spy-thriller series, which joined the best streaming service's back catalog (in the US) on April 15, rocketed its way to number eight on the Nielsen charts – for the week running April 15 to 21 – with a whopping 719 million viewing minutes in its first week on the platform. That's a bit behind the number one show at the time, which was the Fallout TV show on Prime Video – it amassed 2.6 billion minutes watched in its first seven days post-release. To give Killing Eve its due, though, Amazon's TV adaptation of Fallout is a brand-new series, whereas Killing Eve was first released in 2018.

Unlike other huge licensed show successes that have dominated the Netflix charts, such as Suits, over the last 12 months, though, Killing Eve's popularity hasn't been driven by 18 to 49 year olds. Per Variety, the really interesting thing isn't so much the numbers, but where those numbers are coming from. Indeed, one third of Killing Eve's viewers were aged 65 or above. That 33% share of the audience is, according to Nielsen (via Variety again) the largest among Netflix's various age demographics, too.

The Netflix effect

A close up of Megan Markle's Rachel Zane in the Suits TV show

Suits was a massive success on Netflix following its debut on the service in mid-2023. (Image credit: USA Network)

So, what's behind Killing Eve's unexpected success among over-60s? It appears that it's benefited from the same phenomenon that also made Suits and Brooklyn Nine-Nine big hits, with brand new audiences finding and falling in love with the shows after they moved to the streamer. 

Where the former is concerned, Suits became a huge hit for Netflix in August 2023, with its subsequent popularity irking its writers at the height of the Hollywood writers strikes. It continued to break streaming records on Netflix and Peacock throughout that month, too, and viewers under the age of 25 became obsessed with the legal drama on the platform itself and social media apps, such as TikTok.

Netflix's licensing of shows like Killing Eve, then, is particularly beneficial to TV productions that generated both positive word of mouth, plenty of critical praise, and multiple awards during their original runs, but whose best days appear to be behind them. If Killing Eve keeps on drawing in viewers, it's certainly possible that it'll sneak its way onto our best Netflix shows list in the near future.

As mentioned, as successful as Killing Eve was in its first week on Netflix, it couldn't hold a candle to Fallout, aka one of the best Prime Video shows ever made. Nielsen points out that it's rare for any show to get two billion-plus minutes on consecutive weeks, but Fallout has done just that with 2.9 billion in its first five days on Prime Video and a further 2.6 billion minutes the following week. When you consider that's over just eight episodes, it's all the more impressive. It's the first two-billion title to achieve those numbers without being on Netflix, which has much bigger market share than its rivals. Little wonder, then, that Fallout season 2 was announced mere days after its forebear arrived.

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Carrie Marshall
Contributor

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.

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