Nielsen: Prime Video’s ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ Topped HBO Max’s ‘House of the Dragon’ in First Direct Viewer Competition

Amazon Prime Video’s original reboot “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” dominated household TV streaming, generating 1.25 billion minutes across two episodes for the week of Aug. 29-Sept. 4, according to new data from Nielsen.

Reportedly the most expensive television series ever created, “Rings” knocked off HBO Max’s original “Game of Thrones” prequel “House of the Dragon,” with 781 minutes across three episodes. In fact, the access to all 73 episodes of “Thrones” was enough to best “Dragon,” finishing No. 4 with 792 million minutes streamed.

“Rings” was also able to fend off the premiere of Netflix original comedy movie Me Time, starring Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg, with 927 million minutes streamed.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Rank SVOD Provider Program Name Number of Episodes Minutes Streamed (Millions)
1 Prime Video The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power 2 1.253 billion
2 Netflix Me Time 1 927
3 Netflix NCIS 354 812
4 HBO Max Game of Thrones 73 792
5 HBO Max House of The Dragon 3 781
6 Netflix Devil in Ohio 8 716
7 Netflix Cocomelon 18 693
8 Netflix Grey’s Anatomy 396 674
9 Netflix Stranger Things 34 667
10 Netflix Echoes (2022) 7 627

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

Samba TV: Prime Video’s ‘The Rings of Power’ Falls Short of ‘Stranger Things 4,’ ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Debuts

Prime Video announced that the premiere of its highly touted (and expensive) prequel series, “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” was viewed by 25 million people — tops for any Amazon original content.

Now new data from Samba TV suggests the “Rings” bow, while good, was not as spectacular as hyped.

Indeed, 1.8 million U.S. households watched “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” episode one on Prime Video during the L+3D (Sept. 1-4) window, according to Samba TV. Another 1.3 million U.S. households watched episode two during the L+3D window. The series’ debut marked Prime Video’s highest three-day viewership of any 2022 premiere on the platform.

Yet, the debut of the first episode of season four of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” generated 2.9 million U.S. households. And the debut of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” (Disney+) episode one saw 2.1 million U.S. households tune in.

The top 2022 premiere — “Stranger Things” season four — drove 22% of its initial month (L+30) viewership within the first day, whereas the top Disney+ premiere (“Obi-Wan Kenobi”) drove 28%, indicating that roughly one-quarter of those show’s viewers were highly anticipating the premieres to the point of immediately watching on their first day live.

By comparison, Prime Video original shows tend to see a slower build-up, with fewer viewers looking to tune in immediately upon release. Looking at some of Prime’s recent top shows, Samba TV data saw a smaller proportion of L+30 viewership occur within the first day.

For example, “The Terminal List 101” and “Outer Range 101” drove 13% and 15% of L+30 viewership within the first day, respectively. Even recurring series such as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” saw a lower proportion of L+0 tune-in than Netflix and Disney+, at 18%. Waiting for a full month of data will help provide a more comprehensive picture of how “The Rings of Power” compares to other streaming releases.

Also, HBO’s “House of the Dragon” premiere over-indexed by 3% among Gen-Z, while Prime’s “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” under-indexed by 4% among the Gen-Z audience, indicating that “House of the Dragon” might be doing a better job engaging younger viewers who did not watch the original “Game of Thrones” when it initially aired more than a decade ago.

Samba found there was a viewership drop-off between episodes one and two of “The Rings of Power,” indicating that about one in four households that watched episode one were not interested in continuing to watch the next episode within the initial L+3 window.

“While initial results were strong compared to other Prime Video debuts, “The Rings of Power” has room to grow, [and] at least early on, face[s] some challenges engaging younger audiences,” Samba TV co-founder/CEO Ashwin Navin said in a statement.

Navin said Prime originals tend to attract larger audiences in the days following their release than other streamers and believes “The Rings of Power” has a strong foundation of viewership from which to build upon.

“As the streamer seeks to tap into the existing fanbase for J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world more than two decades after the [theatrical movies] were introduced, the real challenge and opportunity for Amazon is whether it can expand beyond hard-core fans … and help launch an entirely new programming franchise.”

Samba gathers viewership data via proprietary technology on opted-in smart-TVs across 24 of the top smart-TVs globally (the most in the industry) and captures content that crosses the TV screen, regardless of source. This results in what the company contends is unbiased, comprehensive viewership insights around the world.

As is standard industry practice, Samba TV analyzes the large proprietary dataset to project household-level TV viewership. Samba TV does not estimate viewership on non-TV devices such as mobile phones. However, if a viewer were to watch Prime Video via a mobile or Web browser and casts that to a TV, Samba TV’s ACR technology would capture that household-level viewership.

Amazon Claims 25 Million First-Day Global Viewers for ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ Premiere

Amazon announced “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” attracted more than 25 million global viewers on its first day (Sept. 1), marking the biggest premiere in the history of Prime Video. The series launched exclusively on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide.

“It is somehow fitting that Tolkien’s stories — among the most popular of all time, and what many consider to be the true origin of the fantasy genre — have led us to this proud moment,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said in a statement.

Episodes of the Lord of the Rings prequel series will launch weekly through the Oct. 14 season finale on Prime Video.

Prime Video’s adaptation features the legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared reemergence of evil to Middle-earth.

A world-renowned literary work, and winner of the International Fantasy Award and Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, The Lord of the Rings was named Amazon customers’ favorite book of the millennium in 1999 and Britain’s best-loved novel of all time in BBC’s “The Big Read” in 2003. The Lord of the Rings books have been translated into over 38 languages and have sold more than 150 million copies.