Stranger Things surpasses Obi-Wan in streaming showdown and releases biggest US debut since March 2020, says Nielsen – Deadline


Stranger Things surpasses Obi-Wan in streaming showdown and releases biggest US debut since March 2020, says Nielsen - Deadline

The latest episodes of stranger thingswhich was released on Netflix the same day Obi Wan Kenobi Premiered on Disney+, the show racked up 5.1 billion minutes of US streaming in its first three days, according to Nielsen.

Obi Wan, with shorter and fewer episodes, got off to a slower start at around 1 billion minutes. Still, its debut was the biggest ever for Disney+, and it also made history as the first non-movie title to hit 1 billion minutes of viewership in its first week. (Marvel series Loki reached that threshold, but only after a handful of episodes had circulated.)

The numbers were collected during the week of May 23-29. The series debuted on May 27 in a head-to-head at the start of the long Memorial Day weekend, as Top Gun: Maverick also made his theatrical arc. Nielsen released the numbers for the two series today, a departure from its usual cadence of delivering streaming stats about a month later and generally on Thursdays. Netflix, which released its own weekly top 10 rankings for dozens of countries, had already anointed the latest stranger things Outing as his biggest English language series.

Season 4 rollout for stranger things is staggered, with the first seven episodes landing in May and the last two coming to the service in July. According to Nielsen, the show is only the third title ever to break 5 billion weekly viewing minutes, ranking 3rd behind Pandemic Favorites King of the Tigerswith 5.3 billion and ozarkat 5.2bn. These records were set during the intensity of the early Covid lockdowns in March 2020, when Netflix subscribers skyrocketed.

The current episodes of the 4th season of stranger things according to Nielsen, accounted for 4 billion of the total of 5.1 billion minutes.

Even with the split premiere pattern, a notable departure from Netflix’s defining binge release model, comparing the two series is a complicated process. It’s also worth noting that the stats that matter most in the overall streaming competition are those related to subscriber counts and average revenue per user. In the traditional media era, linear overnight or box office ratings were relied upon as universal indicators (limited as they were) of expected financial outcomes. In the streaming age, it’s all about individual titles whether they motivate customers to sign up for a service or extend their viewing time.

In terms of total minutes available stranger things has 32 episodes of its full run, compared to just the first two for Obi Wan. (Disney has mostly stuck to a more traditional one or two episode-at-a-time release model, and many of its Marvel and war of stars Spinoffs have more economical runtimes, another downside in the Nielsen metric of overall viewing.

To provide a more meaningful head-to-head comparison, Nielsen isolated the performance of each season’s first episode on their respective streaming services. (See charts below.) Through this lens, Friday’s first episode of will be viewed Obi Wan Kenobi 4% seen more than stranger things, with a total of 6.2 million viewers compared to 6 million. (Disney also pushed back the time when the series went live, compared to their usual Friday toggle.)

For the full three-day weekend, however, first of all stranger things episode pulled out Obi Wan12.7 million viewers to 11.2 million.

Since 2020, Nielsen has tracked weekly streaming in the US and now monitors five services: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, and Hulu. Other new players like HBO Max, Peacock and Paramount+ are not included in the weekly numbers.

Both Netflix and Disney are hungry for new hits while struggling with streaming. After two quarters of weakness in a row, including an April report of its first loss of subscribers in more than a decade last April and a bleak outlook for the current quarter, Netflix has lost more than two-thirds of its value. Disney’s shares have also come under pressure despite a massive rebound in its theme park business as Wall Street takes a fresh look at streaming.

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