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Report: Netflix Originals Viewership Not as High as the Hype

7 Aug, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The number of Netflix subscribers who watch its original programing is less than what might be expected given the media attention for award-winning series such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black,” according to a new Centris Marketing Science report.

The Philadelphia-based research firm said while 89% of Netflix subscribers are aware of “Cards” — starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright — less than a third (31%) have actually watched the series, which has won nine combined industry awards and generated 46 total nominations through this year.

The data is only slightly better for “Orange,” which tracks 94% recognition among Netflix subs, but has been viewed by just 44% of them. The series, starring Taylor Schilling, has won 11 industry awards and generated 21 nominations.

Indeed, 72% of non-Netflix subscribers are aware of “Cards” and “Orange,” according to Centris, which polled 562 U.S. households between July 17 and 20, 2014.

Netflix ended its most recent quarter with 50 million subscribers, including 36 million in the United States. The Centris report didn't clarify how many episodes of each show were actually viewed by those who sampled them. For example, if 44% of U.S. Netflix subscribers watched each episode of "Orange," that would equate to an average of 18 million viewers, on par with the top shows on broadcast TV; if the 44% is spread among all the episodes, the average drops to 1.4 million viewers, about on par with a popular basic cable series.

Netflix, per policy, does not disclose actual ratings data for its programing, citing a lack of advertisers to appease for the decision. It has said that “Orange” remains its most-watched original series upon launch.

Meanwhile, Centris said more original-content viewers (76%) stream “Cards” to a TV than “Orange” (70%), while 51% of respondents stream “Orange” to a connected device compared to “Cards” (48%). 52% of respondents stream “Orange” both to a connected device and TV, compared with 24% for “Cards.”

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