‘Stranger Things’ Ratings: Where Series Ranks Among Netflix’s Most Watched

Stranger Things Netflix
Courtesy of Netflix

Stranger Things,” which premiered in July on Netflix, has been one of the streaming service’s most buzzed-about and best-reviewed original series. It is also one of the most watched.

Ratings provided to Variety by Symphony Advanced Media reveal that the first eight episodes of “Stranger Things” make up the third most watched season of a Netflix original series to debut in the last year. Within its first 35 days on the streaming service, the supernatural drama averaged 14.07 million adults 18-49. Only season one of “Fuller House” and season four of “Orange is the New Black” drew larger demo audiences in their first 35 days.

Among Netflix originals, “Stranger Things” ranks ahead of “Making a Murderer” (13.35 million), “Daredevil” season two (13.35 million), “Jessica Jones” (6.26 million), “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” season two (6.08 million), “The Ranch” (6.01 million), “House of Cards” season four (5.67 million), “F is for Family” (4.81 million) all other Netflix series that Symphony tracks.

Netflix, like competitors Hulu and Amazon, has consistently declined to release ratings information about its programming. Executives have, when pressed for viewership data, argued that because Netflix is an ad-free subscription service, ratings are not germane to its business model.


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But in the last year, multiple measurement companies have started to independently gauge viewership for streaming shows. Symphony in September 2015 began tracking original series on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, using audio-code recognition software and a panel of more than 15,000 people.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in July, Netflix chief content officer ted Sarandos expressed skepticism at efforts by Symphony and Nielsen to measure Netflix viewership. “Both Nielsen and Symphony claim accuracy, but one of them reported the viewing of Season 4 of ‘Orange is the New Black’ to be two times what the other reported,” Sarandos said. He then used those numbers to claim bragging rights, adding, “Either number, if true, would be great for Netflix, especially since it’s only U.S. viewing and it’s only for the first 35 days of release.”

Sarandos did not offer any internal Netflix data to counter ratings claims made by Symphony, Nielsen or any other company. “The focus of the ratings companies has really no relevance on us,” he said.

Data provided by Symphony in June showed that Netflix’s top-rated original shows far outpace most series on Hulu and Amazon.

Created by Matt and Ross Duffer, “Stranger Things” has a 95% “fresh” rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of the best reviewed series of 2016 thus far. Variety‘s Maureen Ryan wrote in July of the show’s first four episodes, “‘Stranger Things’ is the kind of genre entertainment that doesn’t forget the second word of that phrase, but it is primarily interested in watching believably flawed people wrestle with the idea that some things are unknowable, and that having “answers” doesn’t necessarily prevent the arrival of pain and confusion.”

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  1. nita disney says:

    I am addict to this show. I want to see more.

  2. Orlando says:

    Just when you think what could Netflix do to top all the rest of it’s original series Bang! Here comes Stranger Things. Netflix hands down the number one in streaming service. Great season one can’t wait for season two. It has a little X -file flavor.

  3. A.B. Montez says:

    You mention Season 4 of House of Cards at 5.7mn. Does that mean that Season 3 of HOC averaged more than 14mn, and Season 4 dropped to 5.7mn? If so, impressive that they held that high through seasons 3 and 4.

  4. loco73 says:

    It definitely deserves the success it is getting. I’m quite taken with the show…It hits all the right notes and it was a wonderful addition to the great small screen offerings this summer…enough to wash out the bad taste left by soo many mediocre and plain boring and dumb movies…

  5. nerdrage says:

    Why bother reciting 18-49 demo ratings at all? Netflix doesn’t show ads and doesn’t care if you’re 101, as long as your credit card still works.

  6. John Shutt says:

    Doesnt shock me. Word of mouth lead it to these ratings

  7. Jacques Strappe says:

    Stranger Things was marginally entertaining and became less so as it progressed. Young children smarter than Einstein and way smarter than any of the adults was one of the things that was a little too strange for my tastes. Over the top paranoia acting from Ryder along with the sinister villains whose motivations to murder adults, kidnap and torture children was never fully explained made Stranger Things less entertaining. Mishmash of a plot overall weighed down this trippy nostalgia fest. Stranger Things was mot the worst thing out there but not is definitely not the greatest, either by a long shot. Passable summer distraction at best.

  8. First 4 episodes represent some of the best TV of the year… maybe decade. Final 4 episodes represent… a very good show.

  9. Carlos Shabo says:

    Very good show. i feel like it peaked after episode 3 or 4…hopefully Season2 has a longer stretch of great TV.

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