TV Ratings: ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Premiere Numbers Revealed by Nielsen

TV Ratings: 'Orange Is the New

Netflix and its competitors have long kept ratings for their shows closely guarded. Nielsen has now shed some light on them.

During a presentation at its Consumer 360 conference in Las Vegas Wednesday, Nielsen provided viewership numbers for a handful of streaming shows, including Netflix original series “Orange is the New Black.” According to the measurement service, 6.7 million people watched the show’s season-four premiere from June 17, when it debuted on the service, through June 19. Over the same period, 5.9 million people watched the season’s second episode.

That places “Orange” in the same league as the most watched shows on cable for the same week. In Nielsen live-plus-three ratings, the June 19 episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” was cable’s most watched show with 10.4 million total viewers. The June 13 season premiere of TNT’s “Major Crimes” ranked second with 5.8 million.

Nielsen also provided data for “Seinfeld” on Hulu. The company found that classic episodes of the comedy series were watched on average by 706,000 U.S. viewers within their first five days on the service. It also revealed that 44% of Netflix viewers for AMC series “Better Call Saul” are between the ages of 18 and 34, versus 24% for linear television.

Last year, Nielsen began to track viewing on digital services such as Netflix, but has thus far only made its findings available to clients. Lionsgate, which produces “Orange is the New Black,” and Sony Pictures Television, which is the producer of “Seinfeld” and “Better Call Saul,” gave Nielsen permission to release data for those shows. The Wall Street Journal first reported on Nielsen’s presentation.

Nielsen is one of several companies, including chief competitor ComScore, ramping up efforts to measure digital viewing alongside traditional television. As Variety reported this month, Symphony Advanced Media found that Amazon’s Emmy-winning series “Transparent” ranks behind other shows on that service as well as on Hulu and Netflix in viewership.


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  1. James says:

    Those are US viewership estimates. Netflix is avialable everywhere in the world save for 4 territories, with hundreds of millions of subscribers. OITNB for instance is one of its most popular and most rewatched shows, and it’s most watched original. The total viewership numbers worldwide are considerably much higher. I don’t know why US “ratings” are always solely reported. That alone is irrelevant for subscriber-based services.
    I do find it funny how Nielsen is trying to maintain relevancy.

  2. Nate says:

    During that week a repeat of NCIS had 7.64 million viewers. Of course, they were older and not hip, so who cares.

    • Ed Fisk says:

      The reason this is news as compared to network television is that both Netflix and Hulu are paid services just like Premium cable. So attracting theses numbers are an ordeal of their own.

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