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Nielsen: Opening Weekend of Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ Tracked Almost 2.2 Billion Minutes Streamed

Pent-up demand for the new season of Netflix original series “The Witcher” saw almost 2.2 billion minutes streamed for the opening weekend (ended Dec. 19, 2021) debut of the fantasy series starring Henry Cavill, according to new data from Nielsen.

All 16 episodes of the series dominated the ratings firm’s tracking, nearly tripling runner-up “Cocomelon” with 848 million minutes, and licensed favorite “Criminal Minds,” with 631 million minutes across 317 episodes.

“Netlfix [was] kind of flexing its original content muscles,” Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product strategy at Nielsen, said on the webcast.

Fuhrer said “Witcher” siphoned off some of Amazon Prime Video’s audience for “The Wheel of Time,” a series with a similar plot line. The show generated 467 million minutes across seven episodes — an 8% drop from the previous week.

“It could be platform related,” Fuhrer said, attributing to Amazon Prime’s appeal among older viewers who also use the platform’s shipping and ecommerce features. “Amazon tends to skew a little older than Netflix.”

On the flipside, “Cocomelon,” and movies Back to the Outback, and Bluey on Disney+, resonated with younger viewers, including those aged 2-11, according to Fuhrer.

“Nobody has really challenged the tremendous numbers ‘Cocomelon’ has put up, but I think [the competition] has begun to isolate the fact that this is a serious opportunity for streaming,” he said. “And we’re seeing more and more entrants into the space.”

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Source: Nielsen Streaming Content Ratings (Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix and Apple TV+), Nielsen National TV Panel, U.S. Viewing through Television.

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