‘Breaking Bad’ Ratings Down in Season 5; Is Netflix To Blame?

Published 3 years ago by , Updated August 8th, 2012 at 9:51 am,

breaking bad season 5 king Breaking Bad Ratings Down in Season 5; Is Netflix To Blame?

The final chapter of Walter White may have found the Breaking Bad season 5 premiere breaking ratings records for the series, but it appears that trend may be on the decline, as the second episode of the season saw ratings drop by 21%.

Premiering to 2.9 million viewers, AMC announced that the ratings for the Breaking Bad season 5 premiere were up overall: “a 14 percent increase in viewers compared to last season’s premiere, including an increase of 34 percent in the coveted 18-49 demographic.” However, following the second episode airing, the ratings had dropped by 21%, down to 2.3 million viewers.

With Breaking Bad being appropriately touted as one of the best television series ever, audiences – even those who are unfamiliar with the series – will likely be compelled to tune in, if only to see what everyone is talking about. Combine that with the fact that premieres always show an exponential increase in ratings and the ratings drop starts to make sense.

That being said, once you throw the Netflix factor into it, an interesting notion presents itself. Like many great series on the air today, Netflix has become a way for audiences to catch up on, rewatch, or be introduced to Breaking Bad. Unlike most series, Breaking Bad has its entire catalog available to Netflix’s millions of subscribers (season 1-4).

Essentially turning what is typically a 4 month seasonal viewing experience into a weekend of watching, audiences can become too familiar with the ability to immediately watch the next episode – and the next – until you’re completely caught up. Attempting to feed the desire for more Walter White in one’s daily viewing schedule, audiences rightfully turn to live viewing.

While live viewing directly leads to the success of any series (and typically its continuation), it also means that there’s a week’s wait in-between. For many series, the week’s wait is often supplemented by cliff hangers and/or planned storytelling that lends itself for that type of broadcasting. Breaking Bad, however, is not like most series – in many ways.

breaking bad season 5 Breaking Bad Ratings Down in Season 5; Is Netflix To Blame?

Often mirroring the same subtle journey that Walter White is on, Breaking Bad’s dense, intense character-driven narrative can make live viewing a strain on some viewers – especially for those who are intensely invested in the story. Since a weekly viewing of Breaking Bad brings with it 7 days of anticipatory waiting, the always suspense-filled episodic installments of Breaking Bad may dissuade viewers from watching the show in this way, especially after experiencing it through Netflix instant streaming.

On top of that, Breaking Bad’s final season is actually airing over 2 years, which converts its typically 4 month, 13 episode season into a 2 month, 8 episode per year programming run-around. Having to wait an entire year to even begin Walter White’s truly final chapter, some of the audience might simply wait to completely delve into the beautifully chaotic world of Breaking Bad.

Of course, even if Breaking Bad’s ratings do continue to decline (which is likely, if only slightly), Vince Gilligan’s television opus has already secured his final chapter’s place in the programming lineup. So whether or not you’re a weekly viewer of Breaking Bad, take solace in the knowledge that the tale will be concluded the way that Gilligan has always planned.

And for any fan of television, there’s nothing greater than being able to witness a creator bring his or her story to its appropriate end.


Breaking Bad airs Sundays @10pm on AMC

Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. for 2.99 can watch on itunes any past episode….s of season 5

  2. Just watching saeson 4 ep 1,being able to go from the final ep of season 3 directly into sea 4 was fantastic,it’s gonna be brutal waiting a year for final run.

  3. I think ratings are, if not mostly, partially down because of the dish network stand-off with AMC. Millions of AMC faithfuls apparently are subscribed to dish network, and can’t watch it now.

    • I agree. The drop most likely resulted from Dish dropping it…I had to resort to iTunes to watch the first half of Season 5.

  4. I first started watching Breaking Bad on Net Flix.. Now I can’t get enough of that show! I was so hurt when I found out I couldn’t watch season 5 on Net Flix. I am waiting because its like a really good movie I cant have a pause in between just to wait for the next show. Sorry that the ratings are droping but its a hit you can’t miss.

    • I agree. Plus I like watching TV on my own time not when the network dictates when I should watching.

      • Exactly most of us nowadays don’t have a 9 -5 alot work shiftwork and are unable to view when it airs that’s what is great about it being on netflix

  5. Tnx, I was wondering what happened with the rest of the show, the remaining episodes.

  6. I was super upset this year…Dish dropped AMC… so keeping up with Breaking Bad has been a challenge. Maybe that is why viewing is down? Surely I’m not the only one who no longer has AMC…

  7. not true if it was not for Nexflex i would not have fallen in love with Breaking Bad

    • DITTO! I started watching Breaking Bad because I had ran out of things to watch on Netflix. Boy, was I in for a treat!

    • I never would have started watching Breaking Bad if not for Netflex and now I love it. Now I am eagerly waiting for more on Netflex.

  8. I agree with other posts, Dish dropped AMC and that’s why viewing is down. WTF is Dish thinking?
    Signed – Disatisfied Dish Subscriber

    • AMC wants to much money.

  9. I became a fan of Breaking Bad because of Netflix. I had always wanted to watch the show, but missed the first shows of Season 1 and never could get a grasp on it. I watched all of the episodes on Netflix over the course of a week and a half. I was completely addicted to an amazing television series and was left craving for more (perhaps the meth residue from show?) I have went to Amazon and bought all of season 5 gladly. I look forward to the final final season….. I predict he is either 1. Getting sick with cancer or 2. Has been sick with cancer this entire time and all of these tv episodes are him in a chemically induced state and dreaming.

    • If they do the “he was dreaming the whole time cop- out I would be disappointed

  10. Not Netflix. Dish. It’s Dish’s fault. They stopped carrying AMC at the beginning of Breaking Bad Season 5. Dish claims nobody watches AMC so they dropped it. I have Dish and hate them. Yeah, they may be cheaper but you get what you pay for. No AMC is one of those things you get in addition to crappy reception and a freezing screen that only a full reboot temporarily fixes.
    Breaking Bad is as good as it’s ever been but the audience shrunk because of Dish.

  11. This article is completely absurd logic. Fan of Breaking Bad are not going to want to wait a whole year just to watch the episodes back to back on Netflix. Some people MAY do that, but not enough to count for a significant drop in ratings. Networks and producers know this, otherwise they would not allow Netflix to have access to the entire series. This is a stupid article.

    • It may be that you are stupid…? Just saying…

  12. Its because season 5 sucks.

  13. Not true i have netflix and id rather wait a weak between episodes of breaking bad rather than wait 6 months to a year so i can watch it on netflix. Ill admit i do that with some shows but others i cant wait like that. Plus after you wait a year to watch show you tend to forget what happend i usually do.

  14. Hands down, the very best TV show I have ever seen! The only show that even comes close is “Walking Dead”. You are correct, I never even heard of the show until three weeks ago, when a friend told me about it. I have watched all episodes on Netflix. I even stayed home from work two days as I could not get enough of this show. This show is as addicting as the Meth Walt cooks! I even bought season 5 for my X-Box on Zune Market Place and watched them on the Zune viewer. I have watched all episodes in three weeks, a must see!

    • You should check out Lost and The Game of Thrones, all great shows. Yeah I need my Heizenburg fix, and Netflix has spoiled me lol

  15. Just watched S1EPfirst through S4EPlast in about a week on Netflix while I edited a ton of photography. But, rather than wait for the final season to accumulate all episodes, I’m starting in and am going to do the waiting game. Just too much investment.

  16. I couldn’t have written this article better myself. I only heard about Breaking Bad 6 weeks ago by a friend who told me I HAVE to watch it. In 6 weeks I was glued to my TV watching season 1-4 on Netflix. I finished season 4 at 3:am this morning… it was that good. Now I am finding that Season 5 is not available on-demand with Verizon FIOS, Netflix doesn’t have it yet, and only half of Season 5 has aired. To watch the first half, I have to pay a minimum of $1.99 per episode (on Amazon, which I will likely do) and then I have to wait until summer 2013 to start watching it one week at a time…


  17. Please tell me this show is going to continue. Is there going to be a season 6??

  18. Please put season 5 as soon as possible love the shows

  19. The rating are down because Walt is becoming unlikable. Killing mike was the worse case scenario in plot ideas, more so having Walt do it. Walt is just becoming a power monger, no better then those who he goes up against.

    Personally, if it keeps going this way, unless Jessie becomes the main character I’m done with breaking bad. I no longer care what happens to Walt and his wife is just a b**** with no redeeming qualities. At this point Jessie is the only one I look forward to see what happens.

    • Iv seen everything up to season 4 on Netflex. This is my point of view, Jessie is just as much of a bad guy then anyone else and I like seeing Walter become more and more of a drug lord.

  20. So where in this schlocky so-called article was the HUGE factor that Dish Network had dropped AMC right before the Season 5 started?

    14 Million viewers cut off, and this is not a factor at all?The nation’s seconld-largest sattelite provider is gone from AMC broadcasting and ythis accounts for nothing?

    How do I get my wated time back from reading this dreck?

  21. I started watching Breaking Bad on Netflix, I tried to see the 5th season on demand on comcast they aren’t showing it… So greedy really how much money do you need networks ? Ugh

  22. Most likely the drop in ratings is due to Dish Network dropping AMC form the lineup just before the season aired. I would have watched or at least DVR’s it but Dish Network dropped the channe; and I could not!!

  23. I freakin love this series. I am enthralled thru four seasons and now I’m stuck with not being able to view the first eight episodes of season five. How can J catch up? Any suggestions?

  24. I only ‘discovered’ Breaking Bad very recently as a new Netflix streaming subscriber. I was hooked and watched seasons 1-4 back to back over about a week and a half. Then of course I ran over to Amazon and bought all of season 5 that is available so far and watched them. Because I saw all of the episodes of BB with no pause I have a pretty clear understanding of which episode are the best (for example, one of the best is ‘Half Measures’). So I can say with at least some authority that, so far, season 5 has been kind of weak. Also in season 5 Walter is becoming more and more of an unsympathetic character. I realize this is the point, but he is not as fun to watch because he is basically just evil now. There used to be occasionally hilarity as well. I can’t remember laughing once during season 5.

  25. Like many people I have only over the air tv. And I watch most cable shows on the internet. Why wont AMC show ful shows on the internet like everyone else.

  26. When will season 5 of Breaking Bad start to air on Netflx?

  27. Yes, I think Netflix may be to blame. We just watched 1-4 via Netflix and we are HOOKED!! Where on earth can we watch season 5?? I’m frustrated! Help!

    • After watching 1-4 on Netflix I jumped over to Amazon and watched season 5.