The Most Passionate Fans on Cable


The ability to generate and maintain levels of passion in fans speaks to a shows potential staying power. In order to better understand which shows have potential for longevity by generating passionate fans, we created the Passionate Fan Index (PFI). The PFI measures shows on a combination of twelve unique attributes and program elements.

Updating the Cable PFI

Previously, we applied the PFI to cable programs to find the Hidden Gems of Cable. This list highlighted shows in their first or second season with low Awareness but high PFI scores. Revisiting the PFI we applied it to the last six months of 2016 to see which cable and streaming shows have been able to create the most passionate, engaged fans this season.

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Netflix leads all networks with three programs in the top ten for Shows Creating Passionate Fans. Two darlings of the streaming world over that time bookend the list; Stranger Things leads the way and Marvel’s Luke Cage rounds out the list.

Not only do these two Netflix original shows make the list of top PFI scores for the last season, but they are also two of the most talked about shows of the new fronts season. The average streaming original show scores 38% for the program element Talked About Show, while Stranger Things and Marvel’s Luke Cage score 60% and 48% respectively.

Another show able to generate tremendous word of mouth is Power. Of the shows to make the Hidden Gems of Cable list, only Power made the list of Shows Creating Passionate Fans. The program also scored highest on the Social PFI, a measure of a show’s ability to generate conversations via word-of-mouth and social media.

Maintaining Passion Across Seasons

Being able to generate conversations is important for keeping a program relevant and passion for it high. To understand which streaming and cable shows have been able to maintain passionate viewers over time, we applied the PFI to cable shows on air from July 2013 – December 2016.


Shameless and The Walking Dead have been able to maintain enthusiasm among their fans. They score high for both PFI over time, and the last six-month period (July – December 2016.) When asked why they like Shameless one viewer said, “It’s hilarious. I like how the family is because my family has things happen to us like that.”

Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are shows benefiting from social conversations. They owe some of their high PFI scores to social media conversations, as they were also shows that scored high for the Social PFI in October.

Other than Netflix, OWN is a network making a name for itself with PFI worthy shows. The network has contributed a show to multiple PFI lists. The Haves and the Have Nots makes the top ten for PFI over time. Queen Sugar is in the top ten PFI for the last six months, and If Loving You is Wrong made the Hidden Gems of Cable PFI.


As shows proliferate on cable and SVOD networks, ratings are less effective at indicating which ones have staying power. The Passionate Fan Index is a tool that helps fill the holes in information left by ratings. We understand the need for a more comprehensive view of these programs, and the PFI provides that.

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The PFI is a combination of twelve unique attributes and program elements, measuring which shows have the most passionate and engaged fans.


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