'House of Cards' Season 6 Audience Gets Older, More Female

The final season of the Netflix series sees its overall audience drop vs. season five in the first week of release.
Courtesy of Netflix
Robin Wright on 'House of Cards'

The audience for the final season of House of Cards has gone the way of many a veteran series before it: It's gotten smaller and older.

That's according to Nielsen data from the first seven days of viewing for the Netflix series. Season six of House of Cards debuted Nov. 2 on the streaming service.

Over its first week, the eight-episode final season drew an average audience of 1.53 million viewers in the U.S. That's down about 19.5 percent from 1.9 million for season five — which ran 13 episodes — in its first seven days of release (it debuted May 30, 2017).

Episode one had the largest aggregate audience of 2.88 million, in the same ballpark as that of The CW's Oct. 31 episode of Riverdale (2.61 million after seven days). Each subsequent installment fell off some — just 901,000 people had viewed the series finale within seven days.

Netflix maintains that Nielsen ratings don't reflect the full reach of its shows as it measures only the U.S. audience, and only those who watch via their TV sets and not on other screens.

The episode-to-episode decline is a pattern similar to other streaming shows Netflix has measured: The second-season premiere of Stranger Things, for instance, amassed nearly 16 million viewers in the three days after its October 2017 release, but the finale had less than a third as much viewership in the same time frame.

The audience for House of Cards tilted much more heavily toward women viewers in its final season. Nielsen says 54 percent of viewers in the first week were women vs. just 44 percent for season five. Robin Wright stepped up to the lead role on the series in season six after Kevin Spacey was fired from the show.

The viewers for season six are also older than those for season five: The season six audience is split pretty evenly between those 50 and older (48 percent) and those 49 and younger (52 percent). Just 29 percent of the first-week audience for season five was over 50.

Here's an episode-by-episode breakdown of the House of Cards season six audience in its first seven days of release, per Nielsen:

Episode 1: 2,875,000 viewers
Episode 2: 2,344,000
Episode 3: 1,696,000
Episode 4: 1,273,000
Episode 5: 1,185,000
Episode 6: 1,042,000
Episode 7: 1,016,000
Episode 8: 901,000