It's underestimating things to say business has been booming at Netflix, and the company's growing lineup of original programming has a lot to do with that. For instance, one of the last big Netflix releases was the Marvel superhero drama Luke Cage, and while many expected it to do well on the streaming platform, the Harlem-set series reportedly had the most successful Marvel premiere of the year, and even did better in certain parameters than ubiquitous hits like Stranger Things. Sweet Christmas, that's awesome!
Here's how things played out. In its first 32 days of release, it's estimated that Luke Cage was being watched by 6.34 percent of adults 18-49 in an average minute, thanks in part to high anticipations and positive early buzz. A quick look around the Internet will show that a lot of people seem to favor Daredevil as a series over Luke Cage, but the Man Without Fear's second season brought in a 5.94 percent average, which technically makes Luke Cage the biggest Marvel hit on Netflix this year. That might be a stretch, considering those percentages are wacky as shit - puts money in the Swear Jar - but it's still pretty awesome.
And it's not just about Marvel. In its first week of release, Luke Cage apparently started off extremely strong, beating out both the headline-grabbing Making a Murderer (which came out in mid-December 2015) and this summer's horror smash Stranger Things, at least as far as the key 18-49 adult demographic is concerned. Netflix even crashed when it was released, prompting amusing responses from some Marvel stars. However, when that window of time is stretched to the next 32-day benchmark, Luke Cage did fall behind both of those series, which experienced steady extended viewership thanks to strong word of mouth. Making a Murderer reached a 9.81 percent average, while Stranger Things got around 9.1 percent.
Because Netflix never offers up its own official numbers, there are always specific caveats that have to be considered when looking at ratings analysis, which are usually put together by the company Symphony Advanced Media (via Observer). Their methods include paying people (presumably within the key demographic) to gain access to mobile device microphones, which passively picks up sounds (such as you in your bed watching Christopher Guest's Mascots) and compounds all the data, averaging it out. It is kind of a bizarre way to get information, but it's the only way without Netflix unleashing its statistics on the world.
So yeah, it's hard to tell exactly how well Luke Cage is doing in the scheme of Netflix's original programming, without official numbers, and it doesn't help that only Netflix's biggest shows get reported on in these limited cases. (It should surprise perhaps no one that Netflix's most popular shows have been Orange is the New Black and Fuller House.) But if someone out there is saying that Luke Cage is really popular, I admit to be inclined to want to believe them.