Gains in streaming offset struggles on network for 100 Days to Indy

The IndyCar Series is dealing with mixed fortunes with the ‘100 Days To Indy’ docuseries produced by its parent company Penske Entertainment.

Airing on The CW, Season 2 of 100 Days has performed well below expectations on the nation’s fifth-largest network across the first three episodes of the six-episode run.

The low ratings for Season 1 of the project in 2023 could be attributed to a new product – made in conjunction by Penske Entertainment and VICE TV–searching for a new audience at a new and unfamiliar home at The CW.

Altogether for Season 1, the six episodes delivered a combined 1,161,000 viewers on their debuts for an average of 193,500 viewers per episode. With a year of familiarity to build upon, it was hoped that Season 2 would debut and reach a wider audience, but according to the Nielsen Ratings, the April 26 launch for Episode 1 (182,000 viewers), Episode 2 on May 3 (184,000), and Episode 3 on May 10 (142,000) have all delivered smaller audiences than the low average seen across Season 1.


In the critical 18-49 age demographic, Episode 2 was reported as having a 33.33 percent drop and Episode 3 was listed as losing 50 percent of the same demographic.

Where 100 Days has struggled to produce any kind of meaningful audience or impact through The CW, the docuseries has found better traction and a new life through the placement of Season 1 on Paramount+ and more recently on Netflix, where it has been a fixture in its featured Trending Now content.

Although Penske Entertainment was unable to provide viewership data for 100 Days on both streamers, communications VP Alex Damron did share insights on how Season 1’s second life on Paramount+ and Netflix has made its presence known through IndyCar’s social media metrics.

“It was a really productive offseason for 100 Days To Indy,” Damron told RACER. “We added two major streaming platforms, one globally and one domestically, and since that time, have really seen a significant uptick in social traffic surrounding the show. We think two things happened. One, we definitely discovered new viewers with Paramount+ in international markets, and then for sure added some traction in younger demos with the addition of 100 Days To Indy with Netflix domestically.

“We feel like this has helped establish the brand of 100 Days To Indy more widely going into Season 2 on The CW, and that was important to us. And on top of that, it’s certainly just good news for the series to celebrate being on new platforms and having additional distribution opportunities.”

In spite of the low Season 1 viewership on The CW, IndyCar and a number of its drivers received meaningful increased in social media followers as a result of 100 Days. Damron expects more of the same to continue happening through Season 1’s turn to streaming.

“The streaming algorithms are incredibly powerful,” he said. “They have a very smart and well-established ability to find content consumers who may be interested in products they are unaware of and say, ‘Hey, give this a try.’ And the next thing you know, someone is six episodes in and following our talent. In our case, it would be IndyCar Series drivers on social media, and becoming more engaged with a product that they didn’t know about just a few days ago. So that’s a really powerful tool for us to have. And it’s the reason why we’ve invested in a show like 100 Days To Indy, frankly.”

With 100 Days doing better business when repurposed in streaming, Penske Entertainment wants to see Season 2 follow Season 1 in a migration to Paramount+ and Netflix at some point in the near future.

“We’re also extremely hopeful that this type of distribution can continue for Season 2,” Damron said. “Once we wrap our six-episode arc on The CW, The CW has had a number of shows go to Netflix after their initial runs and gain a much wider audience through distribution on Netflix. So certainly, there’s a success model that we can follow with 100 Days To Indy, and so far, so good.”

Story originally appeared on Racer