The two hottest genre projects on television right now are finally having their first ratings battle.
HBO’s “Game of Thrones” prequel series “House of the Dragon” and Amazon Prime Video’s “Lord of the Rings” expansion “The Rings of Power” both appeared on Nielsen’s streaming chart for the week of August 29 to September 29. 4, with “The Rings of Power” in the lead – taking the top spot with 1.3 billion minutes watched. “House of the Dragon” was behind it, ranking No. 5 and being watched for 781 million minutes, 61% less than its rival. (Note: Nielsen measures only US viewing to TV screens, excluding other countries and devices.)
This isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, as the availability of the two series doesn’t match exactly. “The Rings of Power” debuted with two episodes at 9 p.m. ET on September 1, meaning they aired for the last three days plus a few hours of the Nielsen viewing window. By contrast, “House of the Dragon” premiered its first episode at 9 p.m. ET on August 21, its second on August 28, and its third on September 4 — with Episode 3 arriving just hours before Nielsen ends its countdown for the week. Additionally, it’s important to note that “The Rings of Power” is a streaming exclusive, while “House of the Dragon” has cable viewership that Nielsen’s streaming chart doesn’t account for.
As such, August 29-September. 4 viewing window is mostly for the first two episodes of both series, and both series have roughly hour-long episodes, but having streaming exclusivity for “The Rings of Power” is a solid plus. The contingent of “House of the Dragon” viewers who watch the show on cable is considerable; for example, according to Nielsen, 3.2 million of the 9.9 million viewers when “House of the Dragon” premiered were watching on HBO. This represents about a third of viewers.
But still, “House of the Dragon” had the advantage that its first two episodes were available to watch throughout the week. Also, Episode 3’s small availability window shouldn’t be ignored. For example, when Episode 1 of the series premiered at the end of Nielsen’s August 15-21 window, it didn’t make the chart, but it still clocked 327 million minutes of streaming viewing in its first few hours on HBO Max.
Charting higher than “House of the Dragon” this week was its predecessor. ‘Game of Thrones’ took third place for the second week in a row with 792 million streaming minutes thanks to fans re-watching the series as it returns to the air. Therefore, combined with the prequel’s 781 million viewing minutes, as a franchise, ‘Game of Thrones’ beat ‘The Lord of the Rings’ – although of course the latter didn’t have the advantage. a long-running series that precedes it.
This week’s Nielsen Streaming Top 10 is the first third-party audience data to be released on “The Rings of Power.” Previously, the only information available on its audience was Amazon’s self-report that the series reached 25 million global viewers on day one, so it’s a big win for the streamer, who so far n had ever debuted the series as No. 1 in its opening weekend (although one film did debut at the top of the charts: “Coming 2 America”). The billion-dollar budget Amazon poured into “The Rings of Power” — making it the most expensive TV project of all time — certainly paid off.
The Netflix movie “Me Time” ranks second in the chart for the second week in a row with 927 million minutes in its first full week of availability, down slightly from 971 million minutes last week. “NCIS” was trailing at No. 3, which is in the Top 10 most weeks thanks to constant Netflix viewing, but saw a rise during this viewing window, perhaps as viewers revisited the series ahead of the CBS Season 20 premiere on Sept. 19.
The limited series “Devil in Ohio” debuted as the #6 streaming show, racking up 716 million minutes of views in its first 3 days of availability on Netflix. In seventh and eighth place were the usual suspects “Cocomelon” and “Grey’s Anatomy” with 693 million and 674 million minutes viewed, respectively.
“Stranger Things” jumped from No. 4 to No. 9 in the ninth week of full Season 4 availability, being watched for 667 million minutes compared to 890 million last week. And in last place was Netflix’s “Echoes,” far from being the No. 1 streaming program last week. From August 29 to September 4, its second full week of availability, the limited series was watched for 627 minutes, up from 1.1 billion minutes the previous week.
Check out Nielsen’s latest Top 10 streaming rankings below, with overall streaming titles from August 29 through September 29. 4 first, followed by original streaming titles, acquired titles and then movies.