From pitch to platform: The 'Beckham' documentary

13 October, 2023

Image: Beckham, Netflix

In recent years, streaming platforms, particularly Netflix, have seen a rising demand for niche content. Sports documentaries stand out among these preferences, captivating audiences with tales of athletic feats, controversies, determination, and the personal journeys of renowned athletes.

Netflix's latest venture in this category is Beckham, a documentary that dives into the life of English football icon David Beckham. It spotlights his career trajectory, challenges, personal relationships, and his rise to celebrity status. In Beckham’s native UK, the documentary has been particularly well-received. Parrot Analytics data shows that in its debut week, Beckham became the UK's most in-demand documentary released on a streaming platform, boasting demand levels 10.3 times higher than the average show. Globally, it secured a spot in the top 10 streaming documentaries.

Unlike other sports documentaries released in recent years, Netflix opted for a binge-release strategy for Beckham. This binge-release approach has its benefits and downsides. The limited number of episodes, just four, makes it feasible for viewers to complete the series in a single weekend, leading to a significant surge in initial demand. However, this model might struggle to retain audience engagement beyond the initial release days.


Comparatively, Beckham experienced a higher initial demand in its first three days post-release, even surpassing The Last Dance by 44%. However, its demand began to wane thereafter. In contrast, The Last Dance, which employed a staggered release strategy over more episodes, witnessed a consistent growth in demand, peaking with the release of its concluding episodes. While it may be premature to conclude that Beckham has reached its zenith, a comparison of demand trends highlights the varied audience impacts of different release strategies.

Post-release, the documentary bolstered the public's interest in both David Beckham and his wife, Victoria Beckham, formerly of the Spice Girls. The chart below indicates a notable resurgence in their popularity. A week prior to the documentary's debut, David ranked as the 305th most sought-after talent in the UK, and Victoria was 149th. Following the premiere, David's demand skyrocketed, making him the top talent in the UK as of October 5th. Victoria also saw a significant jump, reaching the 5th position by October 7th. These rankings are particularly noteworthy given the couple's hiatus from mainstream attention.


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