'House of Cards' crumbles in the ratings war against 'Fuller House,' claims survey

At the Netflix card table, the 'Fuller House' always wins

Netflix, Symphony, Ratings, Fuller House, House of Cards, Viewership

Kevin Spacey as US President Frank Underwood in 'House of Cards' [David Giesbrecht/Netflix]

An American company that focuses on media consumption has claimed that the Netflix-produced sitcom Fuller House – a follow-up series to the long-running 80s/90s sitcom Full House – is the most popular original TV show streaming on the media network, far outstripping the prestige shows like House of Cards or Orange is the New Black largely credited with building Netflix’s core audience. In a tally of American viewers, Fuller House even narrowly beat the zeitgeist hit Making a Murderer, one of the most talked about TV shows of the year worldwide.

According to data gathered by Symphony Advanced Media, which has been using its own methodology for gathering viewership figures for the streaming giants Netflix and Amazon, an average of 14.4m viewers tuned in to Fuller House episodes amongst adults aged 18-49 during its first 35 days of availability – a figure that would actually place Fuller House amongst the highest rated TV shows currently on American television.

While it is difficult to make a like-for-like comparison with other digital and broadcast networks in the US, given that Netflix traditionally dumps every episode of a new season of a series at once, comparisons based on the ‘Live + Seven’ metric, which accounts for viewership as a show airs and how it is consumed in playback services over a week, still rank Fuller House extremely favourably. The show’s ‘Live + Seven’ amounts to 10.4m viewers, compared to The Walking Dead, the most watched TV show in America, and its 12.1m viewers.

Sunday Night Football on NBC pulls in an average 9.9m pairs of eyes, while Fox’s Empire gets 8.4m. In terms of sitcoms, Fuller House easily outstrips its closest rival The Big Bang Theory, which amasses a very healthy 7.4m viewers as it nears its 10th season.

The trade newspaper Variety reported that a Fuller House effect was felt throughout the TV industry when the show debuted on February 26th, with networks noticing a 3% dip in ratings that weekend compared to the previous one.

While the news that the critically-panned sitcom had gotten a second season order from Netflix came as a surprise to almost every critic, its huge ratings success shows it easily found its audience. The show also benefitted from the nostalgia-thirsty audience that has already turned Full House’s syndicated repeats into a solid performer on Nick at Nite.

Netflix does not release viewership figures for any of its shows, and has in the past called Symphony’s “really remarkably inaccurate data,” but they remain the only ones made available to the media.

According to Symphony, which used audio content recognition via smartphones to tally its figures, when it comes to Netflix’s original content the top six shows are: Fuller House (10.42m), Making a Murderer (9.65m), Marvel’s Jessica Jones (4.52m), House of Cards (3.52m), F is for Family (3.47m), and Master of None (3.26m).

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