As far as ratings wisdom goes, when a show gains popularity, you can see steadily increasing numbers over time. But ratings rarely hurtle upward in a way that produces shockwaves. But now Riverdale, the angsty yet engaging CW show based on Archie Comics, has just turned ratings wisdom on its red head:
The Hollywood Reporter reports that its second season’s ratings jumped “an unprecedented” 60 percent over its first season. In almost every case, ratings go down from Season 1 to Season 2 as fans sample a show and eventually fall off as the years go by.
The Hollywood Reporter posits The CW managed this success by releasing the first season on Netflix immediately after the show concluded its first season, rather than waiting several months, as most shows do. This means teenagers, aka Riverdale’s target audience, were able to binge the show on their summer vacations.
It was then up to The CW to deliver the message that new episodes of Riverdale can only be found on The CW. The result? Riverdale’s Season 2 premiere became the CW’s most streamed episode ever.
Riverdale can now boast 3.3 million viewers and a teen audience that’s up a mind-boggling 400 percent compared to Season 1. It was a show in need of the right audience, and this clever marketing move found it in spades.
The media is taking note, which means networks and studios likely won’t be far behind. Will this result in a paradigm shift, where shows are released more quickly to Netflix and streaming partners? Here’s hoping. No one wants to wait three months to learn whether Archie's father Fred will survive that shooting.