Without ratings to rely on, the universe of original streaming content can be something of a black box. And yet, as FX Networks data showed, a massive influx of new streaming originals sent the number of originals overall to 455, a new record.
All those hopefuls are in search of hit status. But what exactly defines a hit? If the media writes about a show, that makes it a hit, right? Maybe. Maybe not.
The bottom line: Internally, a show can be judged a hit by whatever KPIs its network is applying to it, which don’t necessarily always have to do with total viewership. A show with moderate ratings, for instance, might do particularly well with a specific demographic segment that the streaming network is eager to sign up. Subscriptions, not ratings, hold the key.
Meanwhile, another way to figure out what shows are connecting with viewers is to listen closely to the massive, real-time focus group known as social media. To help focus on the hot spots among the universe of streaming original series, B&C had Canvs, the language analytics company, examine nearly a full year of Twitter chatter about streaming originals across three major players: Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. Here are the company-by-company findings:
Mozart in the Jungle first debuted on Amazon just before Christmas 2014, but really became a pop cultural force this year when it won a couple Golden Globes (for best TV comedy and best actor in a musical or comedy TV series for Gael García Bernal). Amazon released the entire third season on Dec. 9, which has given the show a fresh shot of buzz this month.
Across 2016, Mozart in the Jungle ranked first among all Amazon Studios series by racking up 19,284 Emotional Reactions (ERs) expressed on Twitter. Canvs sorts ERs into different buckets to get a sense of the specific types of emotions shows are sparking in fans. For Mozart, the top ERs is not only love (47% of ERs), but the show is the most-loved original series on Amazon. Some recent ERs give a sense of sense of how passionate the fanbase is for the show:
is anybody else watching Mozart in the Jungle S3 because it's AMAZING
— Drake Baer (@drake_baer) December 12, 2016
Mozart in The Jungle is glorious #bingeworthy
— Candie D. Vazquez (@CandieDVazquez) December 13, 2016
Just finished season 3 of Mozart in the Jungle. Seriously adore this series! Season 4 please!? @MITJAmazon
— Charlotte Lee Kenny (@charlotte_lee24) December 13, 2016
Other top shows on Amazon this year include The Man in the High Castleand The Grand Tour, which raked in 14,415 and 14,328 ERs respectively. The top emotions for The Man in the High Castle, which is loosely based on the Philip Dick novel, are love (28%) and enjoy (15%). The same emotions controlled the leaderboard for The Grand Tour, with love accounting for 35% of all ERs generated by the show.
The Man in the High Castle is just so magnificent. Highly recommend.
— Will Boling (@will_boling) December 16, 2016
Seriously in love with #TheGrandTour
— Avery (@daoneeyedwonder) December 15, 2016
11/22/63, the Hulu original miniseries about time travel and President John F. Kennedy's assassination, sparked 36,685 ERs in 2016, and had the highest share of love expressed toward any Hulu series. Hulu assembled some A-list talent for the project. J. J. Abrams and Stephen King were among the executive producers (the miniseries was based on the book of the same name by King) and James Franco starred. In fact, Franco was the biggest driver of love expressions toward 11/22/63, as fans cheered his return to the small screen. Though the miniseries premiered on Feb. 15 and wrapped up after an eight-episode story arc, it’s still generating plenty of appreciation late in the year:
Just finished watching the first episode of "11.22.63" starring James Franco, AND I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU WATCH THIS SHOW.
— Kyle Walia (@K_Walia) December 9, 2016
11.22.63 show with James Franco is great.
— Ryan Rinehart (@RRinehart2012) December 5, 2016
If you are into history in the slightest and need something to binge watch I recommend 11.22.63 on Hulu!!
— grey (@greyboogie) December 20, 2016
Hulu also gets a special shout-out for The Mindy Project, which technically isn’t an original series — it ran for three seasons on Fox before Hulu picked it up. Season four premiered Sept. 15, 2015 and season five premiered Oct. 4, 2016. The Mindy Project sparked 50,415 ERs across 2016, with “funny” leading the way.
If you have Hulu watch the mindy project. It's hilarious
— Princess Shannelle (@Cvrlyfry_) December 19, 2016
— Priss Macie (@justmimsy) December 20, 2016
— Drea McThiney (@drea_mcthiney) December 14, 2016
Orange Is the New Black led the way for Netflix series in 2016, generating 1,209,578 Emotional Reactions (ERs) throughout the year across Netflix’s 86 million-strong global subscriber base. (Hulu hit the 12-million subscriber mark in June, and Amazon, which doesn't release Amazon Video numbers, may, according to analysts, have 69 million Amazon Prime members who are entitled to stream Amazon originals.)
OITNB, a 16-time Emmy Award nominee and four-time winner, originally debuted on Netflix on July 11, 2013. How much does Netflix love OITNB? Hint: This year it renewed the show for three more seasons.
Season 4 was released all at once on June 17, but it’s still drawing binge-watchers:
— Kiki Dupree (@Sweetkiks23) December 9, 2016
Everyone go ahead and watch Stranger Things on Netflix youll thank me later
— Hunter (@Dude_Im_Orange) December 10, 2016
— Evan J Guirsch (@evanjguirsch) December 18, 2016
Truly cruel and blessed that season 2 of Fuller House just hit Netflix at the beginning of finals
— CJ (@cara_jens) December 10, 2016