Does Netflix help increase ratings? Perhaps. After the first four seasons of “Mad Men” were made available last summer, allowing for catch-up viewing, season five premiered Sunday to higher ratings across the board.
For the 9 p.m. airing, the 18-to-49 demo saw a 30% increase with 1.6 million viewers, versus the season four premiere, well over a year ago. The premiere was two hours this time, an hour longer than usual.
Total viewers at 3.5 million marked a 21% increase. In the 25-to-54 demo, there was a 17% bump with 1.7 million.
Total viewers also topped “Mad Men’s” season four finale, which had 2.44 million.
Executives at Lionsgate, which produces the show, and AMC Networks were optimistic that the show’s Netflix availability would help bring in new viewers that had heard the buzz but missed the show.
While it will be impossible to determine the exact impact, it could serve as a test case on how library episodes on Netflix can be used as a marketing vehicle. AMC itself also launched a significant ad campaign behind the new season.
“Mad Men” is expected to run for seven seasons. Season four was delayed after some contract negotiations with creator Matthew Weiner.