×

Netflix: 105 Million Users Have Watched at Least One Episode of ‘Orange Is the New Black’ (EXCLUSIVE)

About 105 million Netflix users have watched at least one episode of “Orange Is the New Black,” the streaming service’s originals chief Cindy Holland exclusively told Variety in the July 18 cover story on the series, now entering its seventh and final season. That makes the series Netflix’s most-watched original ever.

The show was part of Netflix’s first wave of original programming, then a curious but bold strategic move that has since morphed into a library of more than 700 originals on the service as the company bets on such programming to drive subscriber growth.

The Netflix-provided figure is a rarity, though chief content officer Ted Sarandos told analysts and investors on the earnings call Wednesday that the company will be “increasingly transparent with producers” with its data over time.

In its second-quarter report, Netflix noted a loss in U.S. subscribers for the first time in eight years, which it attributes to a weak content slate during the quarter and a subscription price hike. The unusual sub loss sent its stock down double-digits in after-hours trade.

This shakiness arguably underscores the need for original content on the service. Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne said he may have underestimated Netflix’s need for hits to drive subscriber acquisition.

“This does not make us incrementally more anxious about losing ‘Friends’ or ‘The Office,’ but rather more focused on Netflix’s ability to find the next ‘Strangers Things’ or ‘Orange Is The New Black’ to bring new members into the service,” he wrote. “The good news is Netflix has more content ‘at-bats’ (over $9 billion in streaming content amortization in 2019E) than anyone else in TV and simply being average should lead to a steady stream of new hits.”

The recent pullback of licensed content like “Friends” and “The Office” from Hollywood players is something Netflix says it has been anticipating. Though the loss of both shows is a blow to the streamer, it also says that even its most-viewed shows make up only low-single-digit percentages of viewing. (And notably, “Friends” will still be available on Netflix outside of the U.S., where growth is most robust.)

“We think it’s been very important to the business to continue pushing down that road, so the more international, more global, more original film,” said Sarandos.

Read the July 18 Variety cover story for more on how “Orange Is the New Black” marks the end of the first era of Netflix originals, as a new era of competitive streaming wars emerges.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Sarah Michelle Gellar

    'Other People's Houses' Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar in the Works at Fox

    Sarah Michelle Gellar is looking to reunite with “Ringer” creators Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder on a dramedy co-produced by Fox Entertainment and UTV. Fox is developing “Other People’s Houses,” Variety has learned, and has given the project a script commitment. Charmelo and Snyder will write and executive produce, while Neil Meron, Sarah Michelle Gellar [...]

  • Ann Sarnoff Warner Bros

    Ann Sarnoff Formally Takes Reins of Warner Bros. as CEO

    The Ann Sarnoff era at Warner Bros. has begun. Sarnoff formally took the reins as Warner Bros. chair-CEO on Thursday, two months after she was appointed to the post. Sarnoff told employees in a memo that she has been impressed by the company’s track record during the past year amid a period of upheaval for [...]

  • Jamie-Lynn Sigler'Woke Up This Morning: The

    ‘Sopranos’ Cast Members to Present at VMAs in New Jersey

    The VMAs will reunite “Sopranos” castmates for the big awards show happening Monday night in Newark, New Jersey — right next door to America’s favorite crime family.  Drea De Matteo (who played the mobster girlfriend-turned F.B.I. informant Adriana La Cerva), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (who played Tony Soprano’s precocious daughter Meadow Soprano) and Vincent Pastore (who played [...]

  • The L Word

    'The L Word: Generation Q' Teaser Unites Original Cast, New Characters

    Showtime has released the first look at the next generation of “The L Word” and its new cast including Rosanny Zayas, Jacqueline Toboni, Sepideh Moafi, Arienne Mandi, and Micah Lee. Along with some of the original cast, including Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey, and Katherine Moennig, the series sequel picks up where its creator Ilene Chaiken [...]

  • ACCESS HOLLYWOOD -- Season: 24 --

    'Access Hollywood' Franchise Adds New Half-Hour Show

    After a spate of recent layoffs and the departure of host Natalie Morales, “Access Hollywood” is extending its brand with a new half-hour series. “All Access,” premiering Sept. 9, will take an in-depth look into the national headlines and look to uncover the real-life drama occurring in everyday places, exploring a blend of true crime [...]

  • YouTube TV Adds Subscription Options for

    YouTube TV Adds Subscription Options for AMC Networks' Acorn TV, UMC

    Google’s YouTube TV now offers two more add-on channels to subscribers, under an expanded pact with AMC Networks: British TV service Acorn TV and UMC (Urban Movie Channel), which features a selection of black TV and film titles. Acorn TV’s add-on channel is now available via YouTube TV for $6 per month and UMC is [...]

  • Haunting of Hill House

    'Haunting of Hill House' Writers Making Horror Series 'Red Rose' for BBC

    The BBC is teaming with Michael and Paul Clarkson, the twin brother writers behind the second season of Netflix series “The Haunting of Hill House,” for a new horror thriller, the U.K. pubcaster announced Thursday at the Edinburgh TV Festival. “Red Rose” is being produced for the BBC’s U.K. youth-skewing online platform BBC Three. The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content