The first peek into measuring how big Netflix shows do has (perhaps) come along — courtesy of one of its competitors and suppliers.
NBCUniversal’s head of research, Alan Wurtzel, offered up some numbers for Netflix shows at a presentation Wednesday at the winter TV press tour. Based on those numbers, shows like “Jessica Jones” and “Master of None” have drawn audiences that would make them solid players on broadcast TV, but not necessarily network-changing hits.
A couple of caveats here: The data Wurtzel cited comes not from Netflix but from a company called Symphony Advanced Media. And the gist of the presentation was to counter the notion that Netflix and other streaming services aren’t the death knell for traditional TV that they’re often portrayed to be.
The numbers are also just for the 18-49 demographic, which is the primary currency of commercial TV but doesn’t really matter to a streaming service. Netflix doesn’t care if you’re 18 or 78, as long as the subscription fees keep rolling in.
(TV by the Numbers has reached out to Netflix for comment on the figures Wurtzel offered and will update this post if there’s a reply.)
With all that out of the way, the numbers are still pretty interesting. Using Symphony’s data for October through December, “Jessica Jones” averaged 4.8 million 18-49 viewers per episode over 35 days after its November launch. “Master of None” brought in 3 million such viewers per episode, “Narcos” 3.2 million. “The Man in the High Castle,” which Amazon says it its most-watched original drama series, drew 2.1 million 18-49 viewers over 35 days.
How do those compare to what’s on commercial TV? Well, the 4.8 million 18-49 viewers for “Jessica Jones” works out to a 3.8 rating (one ratings point equals about 1.27 million people). So its 35-day rating is roughly equal to the seven-day rating for “Grey’s Anatomy” (3.9) this season.
A better comparison, though, might be “Quantico” or “The Blacklist.” Both shows score a 3.0 in Live +7 ratings, and the longer 35-day tail typically adds 0.7 to 1.0 to the total. By comparison, “Empire’s” 7.3 rating in Live +7 equals 9.26 million people.
“Narcos” and “Master of None” come out at 2.5 and 2.4 ratings in adults 18-49 over 35 days, while “The Man in the High Castle” is about a 1.7.
Symphony, incidentally, is a bit like Shazam for TV. It uses audio content recognition to discover what a person is watching. Wurtzel says its sample size is currently 15,000 users.