Breaking Bad is top Netflix US show, Doctor Who in top 10

Doctor Who is more popular than House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black on US Netflix, according to numbers given exclusively to CNET UK by SimilarWeb.

Jason Jenkins Director of content / EMEA
Jason Jenkins is the director of content for CNET in EMEA. Based in London, he has been writing about technology since 1999 and was once thrown out of Regent's Park for testing the UK's first Segway.
Jason Jenkins
2 min read

Breaking Bad is the most popular show on the US version of Netflix, with British show Doctor Who beating Netflix original commissions House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black.

That's according to SimilarWeb, a Web measurement company based in Tel Aviv, which gave its findings exclusively to CNET UK. The company has been tracking what users who visit the US version of Netflix's website clicked on throughout 2013, producing a list of its 20 most popular shows.

Second on the list after Breaking Bad is Family Guy, followed by How I Met Your Mother, Supernatural and The Walking Dead. Doctor Who appears three places above Orange Is the New Black, and four above House of Cards. Both these shows were made by and shown exclusively on Netflix, with the latter winning three Emmy awards and reportedly costing $50m to make.  

Netflix wrote in a letter to investors in October that Orange Is the New Black will "will end the year as our most-watched original series ever", which tallies with these numbers, depending on how you read them. Arrested Development is more popular than that show, according to these figures, although only its fourth season was made for Netflix.

"While sci-fi shows or niche comedies often show small viewership in terms of TV ratings, it is interesting to see how popular shows like Family Guy, Supernatural, Doctor Who or Arrested Development are the real online blockbusters," said the compiler of the numbers, Daniel Buchuk, head of brand and strategy for SimilarWeb.

"It is surprising that an original British drama such as Doctor Who is a bigger hit with Netflix US audiences than their own originated dramas," Buchuk continued. "This ranking shows how different the preference of audiences are with online TV viewing. The lack of measurement for online ratings means that advertisers, networks and content creators might not take these audiences into account."

Netflix does not say which shows are the most popular on its service, so any information about what's popular is of huge interest to industry watchers.

SimilarWeb's data is gleaned only from desktop browsers, so it doesn't include results from people using Netflix with anything else, such as mobiles, tablets, TV apps or Apple TV. Netflix noted in a blog today that "the majority of the more than one billion hours our members watch each month is done on a TV."

SimilarWeb relies on panel data: people install a program on their computer that tracks what they click on and sends the data back to the company. SimilarWeb says its panel covers 1 per cent of the Internet audience in the US.

Here is the company's full ranking:

Netflix did not have a comment to offer for this article by the time of publication.

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