Although Netflix (frustratingly) doesn't like to divulge specific viewership stats, the company will occasionally drop a little tidbit of info concerning a particular show's popularity. During their earnings call earlier this week, they did just that - and it's quite the interesting tidbit.
Netflix casually stated that every new show they they've debuted this year has had better first-week ratings that the previous show.
Let's think about what that means. According to that, Eli Roth's Hemlock Grove had a better first week than House of Cards. Later, Arrested Development had a better first week than both Hemlock Grove and House of Cards. And that means that Netflix's newest original offering, Orange Is The New Black, had more viewers in its first week of availability than all of those other shows.
Call it the little show that could.
It's not that surprising that Arrested Development had a better first week than House of Cards and Hemlock Grove. It had an established fan base who were chomping at the bit to see new episodes. It was also marketed - hard. And it's also not really surprising that Netflix benefits from each successive show, at least in terms of overall buzz generated for their exclusive/original content.
But for Orange Is The New Black, which doesn't have the benefit of a ton of big-name actors, an established fan base, or the massive marketing blitz that Netflix's previous shows enjoyed - this is a pretty big deal. And it's great news for Netflix.
Maybe it was the glowing reviews that drove viewers to the show. Maybe it was the news that Netflix had already signed on to produce a second season before the first one even premiered. Maybe it was simple word of mouth (information age word of mouth - read social media). Whatever it was, a lot of people are watching the new series.
Another metric that shows people are super interested in the show - search volume. Earlier this week, we learned that Orange Is The New Black searches are higher than both Arrested Development and House of Cards searches. Yahoo searches for the show have spiked 7,830% this month.