Did Don’t Look Up cause more people to look up?

As our regular readers know, we routinely deploy a large scale “treatment and control” research methodology to evaluate the impact of the over one billion ads we have served to date, sharing our findings through this newsletter.

In a special edition of That’s Interesting, we take a look at the impact of Netflix’s megahit, Don’t Look Up.
We measured the impact of Don’t Look Up on climate support. Here’s what we learned…

Since the release of The Day After Tomorrow in 2004, there hasn’t really been a massive, commercially successful climate film to date, sci-fi or not. So when we heard that Don’t Look Up, which currently ranks third in all-time viewership on the platform, set a record-breaking 150 million streaming hours in a single week — well, we just couldn’t help ourselves from gathering more data.

There’s no doubt that the movie had a very powerful impact. There were  a lot of takes — but most importantly, it got more people thinking and talking about it.

With our rapidly-deployable measurement machine, we wanted to know: did it increase support for action on climate change? Did anyone “look up” after watching it?

The data says…

In a national survey that included over 2,700 responses, this is what we found when we compared Netflix-viewers who’ve seen the film and those who haven’t.


  • Progressives moved mildly, from an already high base


  • Moderates became significantly more supportive on the issue


  • Conservatives exhibited meaningful backlash, decreasing support by 15% and nearly halving the number of supporters!


That’s interesting

Perhaps this isn’t that surprising. There are a lot of reasons why we aren’t too shocked, as the film has no shortage of partisan cues, but we won’t belabor our hypotheses here sans more data.

What the post-release frenzy of commentary does express to us is that there is a “hunger for more climate content,” as Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson commented for The New York Times.

Rather an “end-all, be-all,” we need more content that gets at climate from new angles and reaches new audience, branching beyond David Attenborough’s soothing narrations — gallows-humor comedies to high-brow dramas, plays and musicals, biopics about heroic activists, TV series with all-star casts… Just as climate solutions need an “all hands on deck” approach, so too does the way we tell stories that invite more people to join us.

Until next time,
John & Jessica