If Netflix’s viewership figures surge this quarter, the company can be thankful for the recent government shutdown. Furloughed federal workers, it seems, passed the time by bingeing on their favorite movies and TV shows. According to an analysis by The Huffington Post, the Washington metropolitan area — where many federal employees live — had a 15 percent spike in Netflix traffic on weekdays during the two-plus-week shutdown.
Workers who were furloughed will eventually receive back pay; some have already gotten unemployment payments from their respective states. These taxpayer dollars were being put to good use: One senior government analyst copped to watching four to six hours of Netflix shows per day during her furlough, as opposed to the two to three hours per week she spends normally. Another, who caught up on “House of Cards,” the political thriller starring Kevin Spacey, said the series made him “so cynical” about Washington today. For those outside the Beltway, the reality show going on under the Capitol Dome was enough to accomplish that.