NBC believes it has deciphered Netflix's notoriously secret TV ratings

The network hosted a "Netflix Reality Check" luncheon to reveal their findings.

Clarisse Loughrey
Thursday 14 January 2016 09:47 GMT
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Orange is the New Black's Taylor Shilling with Ruby Rose
Orange is the New Black's Taylor Shilling with Ruby Rose (Press/JoJo Whilden)

NBC claim to have cracked Netflix's secret code and revealed the streaming service's ratings for a selection of its television programmes.

Variety reports that, in a speech given by NBC's head of research Alan Wurtzel, the ratings estimates were presented for several Netflix series and Amazon's Man in the High Castle. Surprising, considering it's a juicy piece of information Netflix has been so far keen to keep a tight lid on, only releasing vague reports of overwhelming successes on the streaming service.

The stats were stated to have come from San Francisco tech company Symphony, which measures TV viewings utilising audio content recognition technology loaded onto participants' phones, with a current sample size of 15,000. The results were tracked through September to December, calculating the average viewership amongst adults 18-49 during a 35-day viewing cycle, with results as follows:

  • Jessica Jones (Netflix): 4.8M viewers
  • Master of None (Netflix): 3.9M viewers
  • Narcos (Netflix): 3.2M viewers
  • Man in the High Castle (Amazon): 2.1M viewers
  • Orange is the New Black (Netflix): 644,000

It's important to note, however, that Orange is the New Black's third season launched way back in June; in reality, Netflix has stated the show is their most-watched original series. Symphony's data seems to have confirmed that fact, too.

Wutzel's speech attempted to temper reports and put into "perspective" the idea traditional TV had been put in danger by the rise of digital platforms; he stated, "The notion that they are replacing broadcast TV may not be quite accurate."

For comparison, he stated that Netflix users spent 23%-25% of the first two weeks after Orange is the New Black's release watching the show, but soon returned to typical levels of spending 91%-97% of their time watching regular television. Similarly, the first two weeks after release saw Master of None nab an 11% share of viewership, with Narcos attaining a 17% share.

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