Orange Is the New Black Season 6 drew over 5 million US viewers in its opening weekend, according to new figures from Nielsen.
The ratings firm’s researches, which is disputed by Netflix, is far from comprehensive: it only covers American users and can only track Internet-connected TV viewing, discounting both mobile devices and computers. With the streaming giant close-guarded about its exact viewing figures, though, the reports are the closest thing we have to an indicator of how each major Netflix release performs, at least in relation to each other’s Nielsen statistics.
With Jenji Kohan’s prison drama now in its sixth season, the show’s ability to draw an average per minute audience of 5.37 million US viewers across its opening weekend for its first episode is an impressive indication of its long-term popularity: it’s significantly lower than Stranger Things Season 2’s 15.8 million viewers in its first weekend, but on a par with 13 Reasons Why’s second season (6 million), both of which are a long way from running as long as Orange has.
Based on Piper Kerman’s memoir, the series was one of Netflix’s first big plays in the original content arena, and swiftly became a flagship title, alongside House of Cards, and one of the streaming service’s most talked-about series.
“There’s potential in this new season, its more reflective tone and its more overt villains, to recapture the heights of Season 2, the show’s best to date,” we wrote in our spoiler-free review of Season 6, a soft reboot that we hailed as “more reflective” and mostly successful”.
Nielsen’s data also gives an insight into the kind of people watching the show, with the figures proving it particularly popular among viewers aged 18 to 49, with 66 per cent of them women. Over all 13 episodes, the average per minute audience was 2.56 million US viewers.