Tiger King Isn’t Netflix’s Most Watched Original Show

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If there’s one show everyone’s been talking about for the last month, it’s Tiger King. The docuseries about rival big cat sanctuaries and all of the insane circumstances and characters around them has become a full-blown phenomenon. To the point where multiple celebrities are campaigning to star in an adaptation.

But if you crunch the numbers, and Nielsen has, it’s perhaps surprising that the show isn’t the most watched original Netflix series on day one. Instead, season 3 of Ozark now holds the crown.

Nielson’s reporting that on its first day of release on March 27th, Ozark was averaging 975,000 US viewers. Tiger King, by comparison, drew in 280,000 on March 20th. But why such a huge difference?

Well, for one, Ozark is an established show with a built-in audience. Viewers know what they’re getting and judging by the critical response, the new season is its best yet. And during this time of self-quarantine, people are either catching up on shows or finally sitting down to watch series they never got around to before.

Tiger King, on the other hand, is brand new. Yes, it blew up and became a fixture on social media, but there’s still some heavy lifting involved with new properties. Viewers need a reason to be reeled in, and they’ve been given that as the show’s been in the number one spot on Netflix’s Top 10 chart for the majority of the past month. Although, that finally changed last week.

Again, though, the key is day one ratings. Even season 2 of Ozark drew more viewers than Tiger King with 314,000. The fact that Ozark managed to triple its viewership for day one from season 2 to season 3 speaks to the popularity of the show as well as, again, self quarantine.

Of course, Nielsen ratings have been around for decades and were always designed to analyze cable viewership, but the streaming era has no doubt forced the rating system to rethink what is and isn’t a view. Either way, though, Ozark is proving to be Netflix’s most popular show since Stranger Things.

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