Samba TV: College Football National Championship Game Bests ‘Harry Potter’ in Weekly Ratings

Georgia’s first college football title in 41 years, a 33-18 victory over perennial SEC rival Alabama, did more than attract the majority of viewers in the Southeast. The game, broadcast and streamed on ESPN, was viewed by more than 14 million people to dominate weekly statistics nationwide through Jan.9, according to new data from Samba TV.

The research firm tracks more than 46 million opted-in televisions globally, including 28 million in the U.S.

Samba said 14.2 million U.S. households watched the Alabama Crimson Tide vs. the Georgia Bulldogs during the live window, up 14% from the 2021 game. Of all U.S. states, Alabama viewership over-indexed the most (+149%), and Georgia second, up 76%.

The viewership was enough to offset the 11 million combined viewers of a slew of Harry Potter movies and themed TV program in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Australia.

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More than 1.2 million U.S. households watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, followed by 403,000 households viewing Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; 1 million homes watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; 1.5 million homes viewed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; 1.7 million U.S. homes watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; 1.2 million homes streamed Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; 1 million homes watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1; 1.4 million homes viewed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2.

Netflix Says 80 Million Households Streamed ‘Bird Box’ in Four Weeks

Netflix Jan. 17 disclosed that through its first four weeks, original movie Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock, was streamed by more than 80 million household worldwide.

Netflix previously disclosed that the film attracted 45 million households during its first week of release. Nielsen said that included 26 million households in the United States.

The post-apocalyptic thriller from Danish director Susanne Bier reportedly had a $19.8 million production budget.

Michael Pachter, digital media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, says Bird Box is an isolated phenomenon.

Pachter contends that the nature of Netflix subscriptions, where the consumption of additional content bears no additional cost, makes the streaming data for Bird Box analogous to the consumption of television programming, which is also subsumed in a pay-TV subscription.

He cited the recent college football championship game with 25 million viewers and President Trump’s national address with 43 million viewers as comparable to Bird Box numbers.

“We think that each of these broadcasts is more comparable to the 26 million viewers for Bird Box, since few (if any) people subscribed to cable TV solely in order to watch either broadcast, and each program has limited (if any) replay value,” Pachter wrote in a note. “While Bird Box definitely demonstrates the power of the Netflix platform to drive viewership of its originals, it will not necessarily lead to the long-term retention of subscribers.”