Netflix Reveals Viewership Numbers

The streaming giant has long been private about its viewership, and it is telling that Netflix is starting to reveal select audience data around its programming. By touting when a project performs well, Netflix is providing a bit more insight into what is working on its platform.


Netflix revealed in its quarterly earnings report that “You” viewership has exploded.

The drama series “You” didn't attract much attention when it was shown on Lifetime. The thriller starring, Penn Badgley and Elizabeth Lail, averaged about 1.1 million viewers during its run on cable in the fall.

Its viewership has grown exponentially since debuting on Netflix in late December.

In the its earnings report, Netflix said “You” is on pace to be watched by 40 million member households in its first four weeks on the service.

They also said the British dramedy “Sex Education,” which launched last Friday, is also on pace to hit the 40-million mark within a month. The Spanish teen drama “Elite” was viewed in more than 20 million homes worldwide in its first four weeks. The feature film “Bird Box,” meanwhile, is on track to be seen by 80 million Netflix households.

The numbers for “You” and “Sex Education” are projections from Netflix, and they don't correspond directly with Nielsen ratings for traditional TV. Netflix counts a "viewer" as anyone who completes at least 70 percent of a single episode of a series (or 70 percent of a film).

Nielsen does measure streaming viewership, with some limitations. For example, the ratings service said season two of “Stranger Things” averaged 8.8 million viewers within three days of launch, while “House of Cards'” final season averaged 1.53 million in its first week of release. Those figures are for TV viewing only in the U.S.; Netflix has disputed those numbers as they don't include viewing on other devices in this country or any worldwide data.

International fare including “Bodyguard,” a co-production with BBC One; Italian original “Baby;” and Turkish original “The Protector” were each watched in more than 10 million households during their first four weeks on Netflix.


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