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Netflix original shows generate buzz online

by | Sep 14, 2016 | Analysis, Entertainment, Online News, Television

Netflix spent more than $6 billion on original content last year, when it produced more of this type of content than HBO. That’s a lot of content.

All this entertainment goodness has attracted the attention of online news sources of all stripes, especially entertainment and business outlets. MediaMiser set out to determine which show is currently generating the most buzz.

Using its patented Enterprise software, MediaMiser tracked some of the more popular Netflix originals from August 9 to September 9 in an attempt to determine which show earned the most online mentions.

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1. It’s not so strange that Stranger Things took top place

Netflix’s recent sci-fi thriller finished its first season in mid-July and has since been crowned the “most popular digital original“, and a “bigger hit for Netflix than House of Cards, Daredevil and Narcos“. Considering this, and the fact that Netflix announced a second season for the hit show, it’s not that strange that Stranger Things was the most mentioned show during this period. But mentions of the show’s renewal was not the only topic discussed online. Sources also mentioned fans’ growing obsession with the Stranger Things title generator.

Alongside the excitement over the show itself, some of Stranger Thing’s main characters (and in fact one not-so-main character) also generated attention.

netflix chart, netflix original shows
Millie Bobby Brown
and her character Eleven received the second-most mentions. Among the more notable ones was a Doug the Pug parody that featured the star, and a viral photo of a baby dressed as the character.The Stranger Thing’s actress with the most mentions was Winona Ryder, who plays the mother of a missing boy. Interestingly, online sources that mentioned Ryder in relation to the show, mentioned her by her real name (683 articles) far more often than by her character’s name (298 articles). This may be because Winona Ryder is one of the only quote-unquote famous actors on the show, while the others have been described as “up and coming child actors“. But Ryder also received a lot attention for having come out as depressed in the past (perhaps explaining her believable performance as a grieving mother?).

But surprisingly, the third-most mentioned character from the show actually had a minor role. Shannon Purser‘s character Barb played a secondary role as one of the main character’s best friends. But (SPOILER ALERT!) the actress’s early demise didn’t stop some fans from naming her “the best character” on the show. According to reports,  Barb’s fandom even surprised the actress, who “didn’t think anyone would care about her.”

2. Orange is still the new black as OITNB takes second

As Orange is the New Black finished its fourth season, the Netflix original comedy continued to be discussed online, making it the second-most mentioned Netflix original from August 9 to September 9. In fact, during this period, the show was reportedly featured in a book listing the top 100 best shows in American television.

But while the show generated a lot of buzz, its actresses did not.

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Of the show’s most mentioned actresses, Laverne Cox had far more mentions (325 total articles) than her co-actresses Taylor Schilling (42 articles) and Kate Mulgrew (41 articles).

More often than not, Cox and Mulgrew were mentioned because of their roles in other programs: Cox was often referred to as a character on Orange is the New Black when discussing her new show Doubt; Mulgrew was similarly referred to when articles mentioned her past performance on Star Trek. The attention given to Taylor Schilling was less favourable, as her character Piper made it onto the list of “TV’s most insufferable characters“.

3. Narcos to keep going as it keeps online attention in third place

As the second season of Narcos premiered in late August, it is no wonder it was a major point of discussion online. But online sources were not just talking about the current season, as fans were also promised a third season, set to air in 2017.

Cartel leader Pablo Escobar and the DEA agents set against him, Steve Murphy and Javier Pena, were the most mentioned characters.

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Moura received rave reviews for his portrayal of Pablo Escobar. Hollywood Reporter defined his performance as a “riveting and nuanced portrayal of the Colombian drug kingpin“, and CNN said he “again deliver[ed] one of the best TV performances of this or any other year.”

Pedro Pascal and Boyd Holbrook were mentioned countless times for their roles as DEA agents but with no discussion of their performances, whether good or bad.

As people settle into their couches for the winter and new originals premier (Luke Cage and Gilmour Girls), we can expect the buzz to change. But with approximately 47 million subscribers in the U.S. and 5.2 million in Canada, Netflix originals will certainly continue to generate buzz.

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Chantelle Brule
After receiving her Master's in Communications from Carleton University, Chantelle brought her research experience to Agility's Media Insights team as a data analyst. She's particularly good at what she does.

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