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‘Orange Is The New Black’ Season 6 Has Strong U.S. Debut on Netflix, Nielsen Finds

Premiere episode draws 5.2 million U.S. viewers in first three days

In its sixth season, Netflix’s prison dramedy “Orange Is the New Black” continues to draw a sizable audience, remaining one of the streamer’s most-watched original series, according to Nielsen.

“OITNB” is particularly strong among viewers 18-49, and — unsurprisingly, given the predominantly female cast — 66% of the audience is women, Nielsen research shows.

The first episode of “Orange Is the New Black” season 6 drew an average-minute audience of over 5.37 million U.S. viewers in the initial three days of availability (July 27-29), per Nielsen’s SVOD Content Ratings measurement service. About 71% of that audience was in the 18-49 demo.

Across all 13 episodes, season 6 had an average minute audience of 2.56 million U.S. viewers in the first three days on Netflix, 73% of whom were in the 18-49 bracket.

By comparison, Netflix breakout hit “Stranger Things” season 2 delivered a U.S. audience of 15.8 million for the premiere episode in the three-day window, and the controversy-spiked “13 Reasons Why” season 2’s first episode drew 6 million over the same time period, Nielsen says. (The measurement company, which launched the SVOD ratings service last fall, doesn’t have historical data on past seasons of “OITNB.”)

In season 6 of “OITNB,” some of the Litchfield Penitentiary crew relocate to a maximum-security facility, where they’re met by new inmates and routines — and pink uniforms.

The Emmy-winning “Orange Is the New Black,” created by Jenji Kohan and based on the book of the same name by Piper Kerman, was among Netflix’s first big bets on originals. The show’s freshman season bowed in 2013, and if Nielsen’s figures are any indication “OITNB” has retained a loyal fanbase. Lionsgate produces the series for Netflix.

Nielsen’s three-day measurements of Netflix shows are meant to be roughly comparable to Nielsen Live+3 TV ratings (linear plus time-shifted DVR viewing within 72 hours of air). By that yardstick, “Orange Is the New Black” season 6 would be a smash hit on cable, bigger than the premiere of Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone” starring Kevin Costner, which had 4.8 million viewers in a three-day window after its premiere — but not in the same league as top broadcast TV primetime shows.

As usual, it’s worth pointing out the shortcomings of Nielsen’s estimates. The company’s SVOD Content Ratings cover only the U.S. (Netflix is available worldwide) and track viewership only on internet-connected TVs, excluding mobile devices and computers. Meanwhile, since Netflix doesn’t sell ads, it’s not as focused on the initial three-day audience metric as TV networks are. Still, in the absence of Netflix divulging metrics itself, such third-party approximations can be a useful way to compare the relative popularity of content on the service.

According to Nielen’s Q1 2018 Nielsen Total Audience Report, 64% of U.S. TV homes have access to at least one subscription VOD service; 26% have two and 11% have access to three. About 42% of U.S. adults say they subscribe to SVOD services to watch a specific program, per Nielsen’s MediaTech Trender survey.

Pictured above: Adrienne C. Moore (l.) and Danielle Brooks in “Orange Is the New Black” season 6

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