New viewership numbers are here for Amazon's 'Rings of Power' - here's how it compares to HBO's 'House of the Dragon'




 
the rings of power
the rings of power  
  • Nielsen said that "The Rings of Power" was watched for 1.25 billion minutes in its first four days.

  • It's a strong premiere and, on the surface, ahead of HBO's "House of the Dragon."

  • But Nielsen's data doesn't paint a complete picture.

After months of anticipation, Amazon's mega-expensive "Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is here - and so are some early viewership figures.

The show topped Nielsen's latest streaming chart - which reflected the week of August 29 through September 4 - the first for an Amazon series. The first two episodes of "The Rings of Power," which debuted September 1, were watched for a total of 1.253 billion minutes in the US in their first four days.

At an hour in length for each episode, that would break down to roughly 10 million US viewers in that time period, assuming for the purposes of this analysis that there were no repeat viewers and everyone finished each episode (it's not a perfect science).

"The Rings of Power" had a lot of pressure on it leading up to its premiere, largely because of its hefty pricetag. Amazon spent $250 million for the rights alone, and the first season cost $465 million to make, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The numbers indicate that "The Rings of Power" had a strong debut, but the show has also faced growing pains. It's been rocked by poor audience reception and online engagement has appeared lukewarm since its premiere, with Google searches related to the show peaking with its debut, for instance.

Its fantasy counterpart, HBO's "Game of Thrones" prequel "House of the Dragon" - which premiered less than two weeks before "The Rings of Power" - hasn't seemed to faced those headwinds.

house of the dragon
house of the dragon  

At first glance, "The Rings of Power" won the "streaming battle of the prequels" in their premieres, as Nielsen put it. But "House of the Dragon" highlights limitations to the the company's data.

Nielsen said last week that the first two episodes of "House of the Dragon" were watched for 741 million minutes on HBO Max from August 22 through August 28. This didn't include the show's premiere, which debuted Sunday, August 21 at 9 pm EST. Nor does it include linear programming on the traditional HBO network, only streaming viewership on HBO Max.

With that in mind, "House of the Dragon" is more popular than the Nielsen data suggests. HBO said that the series premiere alone was watched by almost 10 million viewers in the US on its first night across streaming and linear platforms, the network's biggest premiere ever.

The show is also driving viewership for "Game of Thrones," which Nielsen said was watched for nearly 800 million minutes over the week of August 22.

But that doesn't mean that "The Rings of Power" didn't have a strong premiere (it did), and it's trending ahead of other recent hit Amazon series. But the coming weeks will  better suggest whether it has staying power - though Amazon told Insider that the series "continues to be the most-watched show worldwide on Prime Video, breaking all previous viewing records."

Here's how it stacked up against other Amazon shows:

  • As a reminder, "The Rings of Power's" first two episodes were watched for 1.253 billion minutes over its first four days.

  • "The Wheel of Time's" three-episode premiere was watched for 1.163 billion minutes in its first three-day weekend after it debuted last November.

  • "The Boys" was watched for 949 million minutes over the first weekend that its third season premiered with the first three episodes in June.

  • "The Terminal List" debuted all eight of its episodes at once in July, which were watched for 1.106 billion minutes in the show's debut weekend.

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