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‘Orange is the New Black’ Leads Year’s Streaming Originals, ‘Stranger Things’ the Top Streaming Debut of 2016

Netflix was the dominant streaming service among the top 50 shows of the past 19 months, according to research company Symphony Advanced Media‘s data of the first 35 days from each series’ respective release dates. The fourth season of Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” led all original streaming series, averaging slightly over 23 million viewers from June 17 thru July 22 in 2016.

The year’s biggest streaming series debut was the award-winning “Stranger Things” (21.7 million) from Netflix starring Winona Ryder. Runner-up was Netflix’s “Fuller House” (21.5 million), the reboot to the ABC 1987-95 family sitcom. Its second season, released in December, attracted about half of its initial season crowd with 10.1 million but still managed to crack the top 10 for the year.

At No. 8 was the return of 2001-07 dramedy “Gilmore Girls” with its four-episode miniseries “A Year in the Life” (11.6 million). Its audience figures were highly front-loaded — launching on the day after Thanksgiving, it drew 6.6 million viewers over the 3-day weekend, ranking third of the year’s streaming originals based on initial 3-day viewer data, only behind “Fuller House” season 1 (10 million) and “Orange is the New Black” season 4 (8.3 million).

The highest ranked non-Netflix series was Hulu’s “11.22.63” (19th, 5.31 million).

Amazon’s most-sampled original is “The Man in the High Castle” with 3.4 million viewing its inaugural season and 3.0 million for its second. Their span-the-globe series “The Grand Tour”, featuring the former hosts of BBC’s “Top Gear” debuted strong with 1.9 million for its first three days of release of its initial episode.

Here are the Top 50 streaming original series of the past 19 months (July 15, 2015 thru Feb. 12, 2017), based on Symphony’s figures of total viewership (aged 18 years or older) and ranked according to the first 35 days of each series’ launch on their respective service unless otherwise noted. (Source: Symphony Advanced Media)

* Viewers in millions
RANK PROGRAM SERVICE SEASON L+3
VWRS*
L+35
VWRS*
1 Orange is the New Black Netflix 4 8.300 23.063
2 Stranger Things Netflix 1 4.628 21.715
3 Fuller House Netflix 1 9.979 21.509
4 Making a Murderer Netflix 1 19.146
5 Marvel’s Luke Cage Netflix 1 4.574 12.139
6 Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events Netflix 1 L+24 11.818
7 Marvel’s Daredevil Netflix 2 4.301 11.649
8 Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Netflix 8 6.624 11.629
9 Fuller House Netflix 2 3.964 10.081
10 Marvel’s Jessica Jones Netflix 1 8.817
11 House of Cards Netflix 4 4.493 8.815
12 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Netflix 2 3.217 8.425
13 F is for Family Netflix 1 6.748
14 Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Netflix 1 6.146
15 The Ranch Netflix 1 1.197 5.853
16 Master of None Netflix 1 5.849
16 The OA Netflix 1 5.849
18 Travelers Netflix 1 5.315
19 11.22.63 Hulu 1 2.491 5.310
20 Amanda Knox Netflix 1.673 4.962
21 The Get Down Netflix 1 1.359 4.914
22 Narcos Netflix 1 4.883
23 Grace and Frankie Netflix 2 1.293 4.515
24 Love Netflix 1 1.311 4.087
25 Narcos Netflix 2 1.163 3.810
26 Black Mirror Netflix 3 1.030 3.783
27 Santa Clarita Diet Netflix 1 L+3 3.672
28 The Crown Netflix 1 1.118 3.528
29 The Man in the High Castle Amazon 1 3.435
30 Bloodline Netflix 2 0.947 3.350
31 Longmire Netflix 5 1.211 3.207
32 The Man in the High Castle Amazon 2 3.021
33 Chelsea Does Netflix 1 2.798
34 The Grand Tour (VARIED) Amazon 1 1.927 2.593
35 Sneaky Pete Amazon 1 L+24 2.374
36 White Rabbit Project Netflix 1 2.335
37 The Path Hulu 1 1.016 2.068
38 One Day At A Time Netflix 1 L+31 2.066
39 Flaked Netflix 1 2.042
40 BoJack Horseman Netflix 3 0.825 2.000
41 Marco Polo Netflix 2 1.919
42 Frontier Netflix 1 L+17 1.916
43 Longmire Netflix 4 1.892
44 Goliath Amazon 1 1.839
45 Shut Eye Hulu 1 1.812
46 Bosch Amazon 2 1.677
47 Haters Back Off Netflix 1 1.676
48 With Bob & David Netflix 1 1.630
49 Hemlock Grove Netflix 3 1.554
50 Cooked Netflix 1 1.502

Symphony’s broadcast network Live+35 viewer data (Jan. 1-Nov. 13, 2016; for viewers only aged 18 or older)

The Big Bang Theory (CBS) 22.462 million

Designated Survivor (ABC) 18.817 million

Bull (CBS) 16.090 million

NCIS (CBS) 15.511 million

This Is Us (NBC) 14.807 million

Modern Family (ABC) 14.373 million

Scorpion (CBS) 14.343 million

Empire (Fox) 14.136 million

America’s Got Talent (NBC) 13.512 million

Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) 13.106 million

Criminal Minds (CBS) 13.081 million

The Walking Dead (AMC) 13.046 million

The X-Files (Fox) 12.846 million

Lethal Weapon (Fox) 12.432 million

NCIS: New Orleans (CBS) 12.254 million

The Flash (CW) 12.247 million

The Blacklist (NBC) 12.214 million

Kevin Can Wait (CBS) 12.108 million

Law & Order: SVU (NBC) 12.097 million

Blindspot (NBC) 11.420 million

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Written by Douglas Pucci

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Douglas Pucci (a.k.a. “Son of the Bronx”) has worked with Mr. Berman for more than a decade. A Bronx native, NYU graduate and once-intern for VH1's "Pop Up Video," Pucci went on to design, build and maintain websites for various non-profit organizations in his hometown of New York City. He also contributes to the sports website Awful Announcing.

702 posts
  • forg

    I wonder if the figures for Netflix is just US or it it worldwide and also if they didn’t count The Mindy Project as Hulu original since it’s not on the list

    • Just the U.S.

    • renamoretti1

      Also those are unaudited figures…

  • renamoretti1

    I regret to point out that your numbers are very misleading for two reasons:

    1) Streaming numbers are not reported by an impartial third party since there is no advertiser part of the equation. In other words, Symphony (whoever they are) has no incentive not to inflate their numbers.

    2) The numbers you published are comparing a whole season of streamed shows with single episodes of network shows.

    Single show audience of streaming shows are still very low (even given the numbers are likely inflated especially Netflix which the most promotional company on earth).