It’s notoriously difficult to assess how many people watch Netflix’s original programming, but new estimates show that Narcos Season 3 is one of the streaming service’s most popular shows. Indeed, as of September 11, one top analytics company estimated it was the 7th most popular television show in the country, whether on or offline (in case you’re curious, Game of Thrones is number 1).
When it comes to digital shows, Narcos holds the top spot. Yes, you’re not the only one addicted to the binge-worthy streaming series.
The third season (warning: plot spoilers ahead), doesn’t suffer at all from the loss of its seasons 1 and 2 protagonist, drug lord Pablo Escobar. In fact, the introduction of the real-life Cali Cartel and its inner rivalries feels a lot fresher and like untilled television territory. It’s easy to argue that Narcos Season 3 is the series’ best. It introduces a strong slate of compelling new characters ripped from the real headlines, such as Jorge Salcedo, the cartel’s head of security who, along with DEA agent Javier Pena, forms the unexpected moral center of the program.
This all has a lot of people itching for a Narcos Season 4; it’s widely believed that Season 4 will begin exploring the rise of Mexican drug cartels, and, eventually at least, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the Escobar of our time (who is now in a U.S. prison). Read more about Season 4 theories here.
Just how many people watched Narcos Season 3 during its first week of streaming? The Hollywood Reporter provided a rare glimpse of the numbers – as well as those for other top Netflix originals – courtesy of Parrot Media. The data shows that Narcos 3 was wildly popular and that it led the pack.
• Narcos: Season 3 — 27.2 million (September 2017)
• Ozark: Season 1 — 15.2 million (July 2017)
• Stranger Things: Season 1 — 10.9 million (July 2016)
• Marvel’s The Defenders: Season 1 — 8.9 million (August 2017)
• Orange Is the New Black: Season 5 — 8.5 million (June 2017)
• Disjointed: Season 1 — 7.4 million (August 2017)
• BoJack Horseman: Season 4 — 7.4 million (September 2017)
• 13 Reasons Why: Season 1 — 7.3 million (March 2017)
As for all digital shows, according to Parrot Media, The Handmaid’s Tale also makes the list at 8.6. million, as does Daredevil, with 5.5 million.
According to Decider, “Parrot Media is an analytics company that has been monitoring and speculating about Netflix’s numbers for a while now.”
On September 11, Parrot Media reported: “Netflix’s latest mega-hit Narcos has continued to be the most in-demand digital original series and the seventh-most popular show overall in the US. Demand for season three of Narcos is growing (up 55% from last week). The crime drama had roughly twice as much demand as Ozark this week.”
You can see Parrot’s chart here; it lists the top television shows in the country overall and digital only by audience number estimates (for comparison purposes, the top show, Game of Thrones, is watched by more than 64 million people. Rounding out the second and third spots: The Walking Dead and Power.)
Netflix has not confirmed any of these numbers. As CNBC noted in 2016, “Netflix is notoriously tight-fisted with viewer data. The subscription-based service is not beholden to advertisers, so it’s nearly impossible to figure out exactly how popular any of its shows actually are.” Netflix was estimated to have more than 85 million subscribers as of 2016.
That leaves out House of Cards. In 2016, Fortune Magazine estimated that 5 million people watched the first episode of Season 4 of that show (it’s now streamed its 5th Season). Fortune provided these 2016 comparisons to give you a sense of how the Netflix programs track with a variety of regular television programming:
Republican Presidential Debate (Fox News)—16.8 Million
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)—7.67 Million
The Family (ABC)—5.74 Million
WWE Smackdown (USA)—2.5 Million
Vikings (History Channel)—1.9 Million
Learn more about Season 4 and what the show’s creators have said about it: