Nielsen claim they’ve cracked Netflix figures, but did 17 million people really watch ‘Ozark’?

Charts courtesy of IndieWire

I don’t buy these numbers for a second.

The chart on the left is, according to Nielsen — the US’s dominant TV ratings aggregation company — the 10 most popular streaming shows from July 14 to October 11 this year. On the right, the 10 most popular shows the week from October 5–11. The oddities on these lists are plentiful, I don’t know where to begin.

Firstly, I do not know what Castlevania is. I have literally never heard of this programme. A quick Google search informs me that it’s some sort of vampire anime show — apparently there is an audience of 8.5 million people in the US for such a project.

Next up, 12.6 million viewers for Star Trek Discovery is an incredible achievement considering that this show only premiered in the last few weeks of this period, and on the CBS All Access service which relies on Star Trek and Good Wife fans alone for subscriptions, unlike Netflix — which most people have. Yet Discovery, which is actually on Netflix here in Ireland, almost had more viewers in those few weeks than House of Cards and 13 Reasons Why did in the whole summer.

House of Cards clearly isn’t as big a hit as it once was, and neither is Narcos, which Netflix once claimed was their most popular original series. Not any more, it seems. The eighth place figure for The Defenders, was was originally conceived as Netflix’s answer to The Avengers but ended up being far more low-key when its buildup shows were mostly mediocre, is theoretically an embarrassment for Marvel, though these shows have little to do with the feature film division of the company, so Kevin Feige remains unscathed.

Now let’s address the elephant on this list: OZARK is apparently the biggest streaming show of summer 2017. OZARK. A show about Jason Bateman blackmailing people. Which is incredibly slow-paced, has a rich blue filter on every frame that’ll send you straight to sleep, and is — ultimately — a very boring show. OZARK GOT 16.7 MILLION VIEWERS. These numbers are bullshit. I don’t know a single person who has watched more than 2 episodes of Ozark — I myself didn’t make it past the fourth. Yet, in fairness, most of my friends haven’t watched Stranger Things either, so they might not be the best audience to base judgement on. But everyone watched 13 Reasons Why, which I suspect remains the biggest Netflix show of 2017 so far.

Now onto the second chart, which makes absolutely no sense, claiming that Star Trek Discovery got more viewers in 1 week than the combined 4 biggest shows of the previous 90 days. I don’t know what i’m looking at. But I am amused at the thought of 20.3 million people watching Big Mouth, which is such a weird show — that practically makes it bigger than The Big Bang Theory. That would be incredible, if only I could believe it were true. More than likely, these numbers are largely influenced by social media tracking, in which Big Mouth would’ve done disproportionately well relative to its actual viewership. It’s a meme-friendly show. The Handmaid’s Tale, and even Ozark, are so not.