In 2016, Netflix beat out TV giants like CBS and ABC to produce the most popular show based on viewership in the first 35 days, according to ratings startup SymphonyAM.
On Tuesday, SymphonyAM released its year-end data on 2016, and season 4 of Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” snagged the top spot. CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” came in second, followed by “Stranger Things” and “Fuller House” (also Netflix), and “Designated Survivor” (ABC).
2016 was a year when the industry struggled to define a show’s popularity. The continued rise of streaming services like Netflix, and time-shifted viewing generally, have made judging a show’s viewership based on the first few days on TV feel inadequate. But startups that have tried to capture the full picture — like SymphonyAM, which uses an app to listen to people’s TVs and estimate viewership — have been criticised as inaccurate.
That said, SymphonyAM’s 2016 list helps us understand who is winning in the fight for the future of TV. Netflix and traditional broadcast networks are going head-to-head in terms of viewership, while other new entrants like Amazon lag behind.
Here is the full list of SymphonyAM’s top shows of 2016, as judged by their viewership in the first 35 days: