“Stranger Things,” which premiered in July on Netflix, has been one of the streaming service’s most buzzed-about and best-reviewed original series. It is also one of the most watched.
Ratings provided to Variety by Symphony Advanced Media reveal that the first eight episodes of “Stranger Things” make up the third most watched season of a Netflix original series to debut in the last year. Within its first 35 days on the streaming service, the supernatural drama averaged 14.07 million adults 18-49. Only Season 1 of “Fuller House” and Season 4 of “Orange is the New Black” drew larger demo audiences in their first 35 days.
Among Netflix originals, “Stranger Things” ranks ahead of “Making a Murderer” (13.35 million), “Daredevil” Season 2 (13.35 million), “Jessica Jones” (6.26 million), “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” Season 2 (6.08 million), “The Ranch” (6.01 million), “House of Cards” Season 4 (5.67 million), “F is for Family” (4.81 million) and all other Netflix series that Symphony tracks.
Netflix, like competitors Hulu and Amazon, has consistently declined to release ratings information about its programming. Executives have, when pressed for viewership data, argued that because Netflix is an ad-free subscription service, ratings are not germane to its business model.
But in the last year, multiple measurement companies have started to independently gauge viewership for streaming shows. Symphony in September 2015 began tracking original series on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, using audio-code recognition software and a panel of more than 15,000 people.
The streaming services have also declined to say how accurate numbers from Nielsen or third-party services are. But they haven’t made a big effort to rebut them either.