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.”