Not every show on Netflix needs to pull a massive, TV-scale audience to achieve its objectives — as long as there’s a decent-size subset of subscribers who love a particular program, Netflix is happy.
“GLOW” season 2 drew 1.33 million U.S. viewers for the premiere episodes in the first three days after its June 29 debut, according to Nielsen estimates. That’s well below Netflix’s breakout hits like “Stranger Things,” which delivered 15.8 million for the season 2 premiere in the three-day window, and “13 Reasons Why” season 2, whose first episode garnered 6 million over the same time period.
But “GLOW” has a loyal fanbase, and the sophomore season of the comedy series — set in the 1980s early days of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling — had the highest concentration of viewers 18-49 of all original streaming content Nielsen has analyzed to date.
Within the first three days of its availability (June 29-July 1), the show’s second season received an average minute audience of over 700,000 U.S. viewers, about 86% of which were in the 18-49 demo.
Moreover, “GLOW” season 2’s audience also had one of the highest median incomes of Netflix originals analyzed to date, at $80,200, behind only “The Crown” ($84,200) and “House of Cards” ($80,400), per Nielsen.
The series as a whole benefited from the new release with many viewers playing catch-up, as “GLOW” season 1 achieved its highest levels of viewing for 2018 during the season 2 premiere weekend, Nielsen said.
“GLOW” tells the story of down-on-her-luck actress Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) and a crew of misfit female wrestlers as they try and find fame through the fledgling wrestling promotion.
There are caveats with Nielsen’s estimates (which the measurement company is providing in light of Netflix’s refusal to release viewing metrics itself). The Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings, besides covering only the U.S., track viewership only on internet-connected TVs (excluding mobile devices and computers).
Meanwhile, Netflix has discounted the importance of the initial size of an audience for any given TV show. Since it doesn’t sell advertising, Netflix doesn’t need its originals to go big out of the gate. “We have many shows that don’t work the first weekend, or first week, or first month,” chief content officer Ted Sarandos said, speaking in May at the Paley Center for Media in New York. But over time, “they grow and grow and grow.”
Netflix execs have said the company targets around 2,000 discrete audience “micro-clusters,” and that its content needs to win fans in just a portion of the overall subscriber base to be economically viable.
Netflix will have around 1,000 originals in total on the service by the end of 2018, with 470 of those set to premiere between now and end of the year, Sarandos said at an investment conference in May. More than 90% of Netflix’s customers regularly watch original programming, he said.