“Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” did pretty well for a series that returned with new episodes after nearly a decade on hiatus, according to research firm Symphony Advanced Media. SymphonyAM says the first of the new episodes drew 5.99 million viewers in the 18-49 demographic in the U.S. over the first three days it was available. All four episodes averaged 4.97 million viewers in the demo.
Dropping the “Gilmore Girls” revival on a holiday weekend was likely a smart move. However, it didn’t fare as well as some of its fellow Netflix Originals. “Fuller House,” the “Full House” revival, drew an average 7.33 million viewers in the demo in the first three days it was available. Season 4 of “Orange Is the New Black” came in with an average demo audience of 5.84 million over its first three days. If you’re only comparing first episodes, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” also ranks behind “Marvel’s Luke Cage” (7.98 million) and “Marvel’s Daredevil” (6.81 million).
As always with numbers purporting to measure Netflix, there are a few caveats.
First: The 18-49 demographic isn’t more relevant than others to Netflix — no advertising means everyone’s eyeballs have the same value, regardless of age or purchasing power. Moreover, ratings for individual Netflix shows, particularly if they’re limited to U.S. viewership, are similarly of no real interest for company.
Original content for the streaming giant is a form of glue, a way to keep subscribers from churning out — you’re less likely to stop forking over $10 a month if you can re-binge on the last season of “Orange Is the New Black.” As of the end of the last financial quarter, Netflix had 47.5 million subscribers in the U.S., and 39.25 million in the rest of the world.
And though the U.S. remains the company’s profit driver — the international segment posted a loss of $242 million through the first nine months of 2016, compared to a profit of $1.3 billion from the U.S. — it’s looking to the 190-plus countries in which it’s now available in order to sustain the kind of growth Wall Street desires. Thus the new emphasis on foreign-produced originals like “Narcos,” “Marseilles,” and “The Crown.”
Finally, SymphonyAM arrives at its numbers by looking at the viewing of its 15,000-person panel in the U.S., all of whom have an app on their smartphone that listens to whatever they’re watching, be it on TV or a tablet or some other screen. For comparison’s sake, Nielsen, the company behind the current standard of TV measurement, uses a national panel of 40,000 homes for its TV ratings.