Modelling A.I. in Economics

Is There a Netflix Effect on Unemployment? A Statistical Exploration (Forecast)

Introduction: The rise of streaming services like Netflix has coincided with a significant shift in entertainment consumption in recent years. With millions of subscribers worldwide, Netflix has become a cultural phenomenon, and its impact extends beyond entertainment. This article explores the potential relationship between unemployment rates and Netflix revenue, specifically investigating whether increased unemployment leads to a rise in Netflix viewership and revenue.

Hypothesis: We hypothesize that there is a positive correlation between unemployment rates and Netflix revenue. This means that as unemployment rates increase, we expect to see a corresponding increase in Netflix revenue. This hypothesis is based on the assumption that people with more free time due to unemployment are more likely to subscribe to and watch Netflix. Additionally, those who find employment may have increased disposable income, which they could allocate towards Netflix subscriptions.

Data: To test our hypothesis, we will use data on unemployment rates and Netflix revenue from 2008 to 2017. The unemployment rate data is sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:, and the Netflix revenue data is from the company's annual reports.

Hypothesis Testing: We will employ Pearson's correlation coefficient to measure the strength and direction of the linear relationship between unemployment rates and Netflix revenue. A positive correlation coefficient would support our hypothesis, while a negative coefficient would suggest an inverse relationship.


  • Correlation: -0.90486 (strong negative correlation)
  • P-value: 0.000319 (highly statistically significant)

Interpretation: The correlation coefficient of -0.90486 indicates a strong negative relationship between unemployment rates and Netflix revenue. This means that as unemployment rates decrease, Netflix revenue increases. This is the opposite of our initial hypothesis.

The p-value of 0.000319 is well below the significance level of 0.05, suggesting that the observed relationship is statistically significant and unlikely to be due to chance.

Hypothesis Test ResultReject the null hypothesis. There is a statistically significant negative correlation between unemployment rate and Netflix revenue.

Conclusion: Contrary to our initial hypothesis, the data suggests a negative correlation between unemployment rates and Netflix revenue. This means that during periods of high unemployment, Netflix revenue tends to decrease. This could be due to several factors, such as:

  • Decreased disposable income: Unemployed individuals may have less money to spend on discretionary expenses like Netflix subscriptions.
  • Shifting priorities: During times of economic hardship, individuals may prioritize basic necessities over entertainment spending.
  • Competition: Increased competition in the streaming market may put pressure on Netflix's subscriber base and revenue.

Further research is needed to fully understand the complex relationship between unemployment and Netflix revenue. However, this initial analysis suggests that the "Netflix effect" on unemployment may be more nuanced than previously thought.

It is important to note that this analysis is based on a limited dataset and does not account for all potential confounding factors. Future research should consider additional variables, such as changes in streaming service competition, economic factors beyond unemployment, and demographic shifts, to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between unemployment and Netflix revenue.


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