Orange is the New Black Season 4 premiered a little over a week ago, on June 17th. Unlike the premiere of Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, the premiere wasn’t immediately followed by article upon article touting their high ratings or comparing the show to its previous premiere dates as well as to the ratings of its competitors. That’s because Orange is the New Black, a female-centric drama set in a women’s prison, streams on Netflix, and Netflix has notoriously kept specific ratings information under wraps. That is, until now.
As Variety reports, at a presentation for the Nielsen Consumer 360 conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, ratings giant Nielsen was able to reveal the ratings information for Orange is the New Black’s Season 4 premiere. They reported that 6.4 million people watched the popular Netflix drama between its premiere date on June 17th and June 19th, and 5.9 million people watched the second episode in the same time period.
This data is likely extremely validating for Netflix, because it shows that their drama, which stars Taylor Schilling, Uzo Aduba and Kate Mulgrew, can hold its own against other popular dramas. As Variety notes, the highest-ranking cable show that aired that same week was Game of Thrones, which was watched by 10.4 million people. That handily beats Orange is the New Black’s 6.4 million. However, the second-highest rated cable show that week was TNT’s Major Crimes, which drew only 5.8 million. Therefore, if Orange is the New Black were on traditional cable, the premiere would have been the second-highest rated cable airing of that week, which is a solid showing.
Nielsen has been tracking the viewership of streaming shows on digital services since last year, but until today, Neilsen shared their data with only their clients, and it was up to the studio or digital service whether they want the data released to the public or not. Unsurprisingly based on the numbers, Lionsgate, the studio behind Orange is the New Black, agreed to allow Nielsen to present these numbers at Consumer 360.
Sony Pictures Television, which produces Seinfeld and Better Call Saul, also gave Nielsen permission to release streaming data for those shows. According to Variety, Nielsen reports that Seinfeld, the classic sitcom starring Jerry Seinfeld, which is now available on Hulu, garnered 706,000 viewers within the first five days of the comedy launching on the streaming service. Also, Nielsen was also able to report that 44% of viewers that stream Better Call Saul on Netflix are between the ages of 18 and 34, whereas only 24% of viewers that watch the series on AMC were between those ages.