‘Orange Is the New Black’ is Netflix’s most watched original series

Taylor Schilling, left, and Uzo Aduba star in the Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black."
Taylor Schilling, left, and Uzo Aduba star in the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black.”
(Paul Schiraldi / Netflix)

Netflix reported its quarterly earnings on Monday along with another interesting nugget of information: Its prison-based comedy-drama series “Orange Is the New Black” will be its most-watched original series by the end of the year, surpassing its Emmy-winning hit “House of Cards.”

The only problem is that nobody knows exactly what that means. The streaming service has thus far refused to release any hard numbers regarding viewership, only saying that its numbers rival those of popular shows on “cable and broadcast TV.”

The only indication of the veracity of the statement comes from the $31.8 million net income the company reported for its third quarter, which is quadruple what it was a year ago before “House of Cards” or “Orange Is the New Black” debuted.

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Also significantly up is the number of members the service claims. That number is currently at more than 40 million, up from less than 30 million a year ago.

What’s more, Netflix says it expects to see a significant jump in viewership when the second season of “Orange Is the New Black” becomes available for streaming next year.

In a letter to its shareholders on Monday, Netflix wrote:

“In 2014, we expect to double our investment in original content (though still representing less than 10% of our overall global content expense). Coming to Netflix next year will be second seasons of ‘House of Cards,’ ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ ‘Derek’ and ‘Hemlock Grove’ as well as the just announced project from Todd and Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman, the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated creators of ‘Damages.’”

Audience size aside, there is no doubting that Netflix has made big waves in the television industry, and that as a result a lot of high-powered boats are rocking uncomfortably. (HBO, anyone?)

Being the first company to have created an Emmy-winning, streaming-only show certainly put wind in Netflix’s sails. And blowing the standard weekly episode formula out of the water and replacing it with a model that sees every episode of a show made available for streaming all at once is definitely keeping its competition on its toes.


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