'Ozark' Gets Sizable Viewing Boost for Season 3, Nielsen Says

Ozark Season 3 - Still 3 - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of Netflix

The third season of Ozark enjoyed a significant jump in viewership on Netflix.

The drama series averaged 8.7 million viewers over the 10 days after its March 27 premiere on the streamer. That's a 74 percent increase compared with the average audience for the show's second season, which was 5 million over its first 10 days in August 2018.

Nielsen also said 16.4 million people watched at least a few minutes of the season, also a substantial boost from 11 million for season two.

The large jump in audience likely is fueled in part by millions more people being at home to watch during the week than normally would be because of stay-at-home mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Streaming has skyrocketed during the past several weeks, with people consuming nearly 169 billion minutes of streaming content in the week Ozark was released — more than double the same week in 2019.

Ozark had a strong opening day, with an average audience of 975,000 viewers on March 27. That's well ahead of the first-day audience for the breakout docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness (280,000) a week earlier and also tops the opening-day viewership for the most recent seasons of Mindhunter (395,000) and Orange Is the New Black (536,000), according to Nielsen's SVOD Content Ratings.

The audience for Ozark peaked on its second day at 1.56 million viewers, then followed with 1.32 million on March 29. It gradually declined over the next five days before an uptick on Saturday, April 4. The smallest day among the first 10 — Friday, April 3 — brought in 540,000 viewers. 

The viewing pattern for Ozark is somewhat more typical for a streaming series than that of Tiger King, whose audience grew substantially from its relatively modest opening day to a peak of more than 4 million viewers on day nine — a testament to its word-of-mouth permeation of pop culture.

Netflix long has said Nielsen's SVOD ratings are incomplete as they don’t reflect viewing in other countries or on devices other than TV sets in the U.S. For its part, the streamer said in its quarterly earnings report that it’s projecting 29 million member accounts worldwide will check out Ozark over its first four weeks. The company's current viewing metrics reflect two minutes of tune-in, or “long enough to indicate the choice was intentional,” as Netflix puts it.

Ozark is produced by Media Rights Capital, which shares a parent company with The Hollywood Reporter.