Netflix Originals Grab Viewers, But Lack Long-Term Impact

PASADENA, CALIF. -- While Netflix continues to dismiss the value of releasing viewership of its TV shows, traditional TV network executives keep trying to uncover data -- and make sense of it.

During the Television Critics Association meeting, Alan Wurtzel, president of research and media development of NBCUniversal, released data on Netflix’s original shows, from original research technology company Symphony.

Wurtzel says when it comes to looking only at Netflix's original shows, viewership is modest as best.

Looking at last fall, for example, the average episode of Netflix’s “Jessica Jones” averaged 4.8 million viewers in adults 18-49 during a 35-day viewing cycle; “Master of None” had 3.9 million, while “Narcos” had 3.2 million.



Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” averaged 644,000 viewers. These results reflect original programming on Netflix from September to December.

For a rough comparison, according to ABC, in April 2015 on a 35-day multi-platform basis, “Modern Family” pulled in 7.03 million 18-49 viewers on a season-to-date basis; “How to Get Away With Murder” took 6.3 million; “Scandal”, 6.02, million; and “Grey’s Anatomy,” 5.08 million. On the low end, “Shark Tank,” which airs on Friday, earned 3.03 million.

New episodes of shows on Netflix have a major impact -- especially in the first two weeks, says Wurtzel. But after that, they fall off dramatically.

During those periods, traditional network TV again dominates the TV landscape.

For example, for the most recent season premiere episodes of “Orange is the New Black,” Netflix users spent around 24% of their TV watching time with the series, but returned to single-digit levels in the following weeks, with viewers’ traditional TV total viewing time at around 94%.

Wurtzel also notes that Amazon’s “Man in the High Castle” averaged 2.1 million 18-49 viewers after 35-days.

“Consumers are embracing subscription TV,” Wurtzel says. “But the point is, what’s the impact?... Replacing network TV? That may not be quite right.”

2 comments about "Netflix Originals Grab Viewers, But Lack Long-Term Impact".
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  1. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, January 18, 2016 at 2:21 p.m.

    Netflix is the envy of the TV industry- new model, new day.

    Alan Wurtzel is "Desperately Seeking Susan."

    Deny deny deny that folks are Immersed in Netflix with the rest of the entire VOD library as if TV broadacsters had the cornered the market on content. 

    Distribution and Content Aggreagtion wins in this new day - not just "Premium" overpriced content.

  2. ida tarbell from s-t broadcasting, January 19, 2016 at 1:04 p.m.

    I looked at a couple episodes of the Kevin Spacey political opus, then dropped it.  My friends dropped off in the second season, tired of it.  But the owner of Netflix stages a press conference and claims Netflix is taking over the world. Without any visible ratings, who's to challenge him?  the netflix press conference was just another effort to boost the stock's share price.  Over the Top is coming, but I doubt Netflix numbers are that significant.  Netflix the world beater is a hype!

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