Netflix definitely has a hit show on its hands with the recent release of Stranger Things 2. According to new data this week from Nielsen, which only recently began measuring subscription video on demand services, 361,000 viewers binged their way through the entire second season of Stranger Things 2 – that’s 9 straight episodes – within the first day it was available.
That’s some serious binge watching, folks.
Within the first three days, the first episode averaged 15.8 million U.S. viewers (P2+), 11 million of whom were ages 18 through 49.
In that same time frame, every episode of Stranger Things 2 averaged more than 4 million viewers, over 3 million of whom were 18 through 49.
Nielsen also noted that people who watched this program binged on nearly 3 episodes when viewing. That’s not too surprising, given Stranger Things 2‘s format. Each episode left viewers on something of a cliffhanger, and quickly offered the option to keep watching the next in the series. It was difficult to find a good stopping point.
While the numbers for Stranger Things 2 seem notable, what Nielsen’s data didn’t immediately make clear is how well the show is performing in comparison to other hits on Netflix. However, prior Nielsen data on Defenders, Fuller House, and House of Cards (pre-scandal, that is), offers a pretty good indication of Stranger Things 2‘s success.
Compared with the 15.8 million viewers who watched Stranger Things 2‘s first episode within the first three days, only 6.1 million watched the first episode of Defenders within its first week. (Yes, week, not 3 days.)
Similarly, the first episode of Fuller House saw 4.6 million viewers its first week, and the first episode of House of Cards, season 5 – that is, after it was an established hit – was also watched by 4.6 million people.
Stranger Things 2‘s premiere didn’t just beat out other Netflix shows, though. It beat out some traditional TV, too. As TV Guide reported, ST2 beat The Walking Dead in ratings, which had pulled in 11.4 million viewers for its Season 8 premiere about a week earlier.
Internally, Netflix clearly knew the potential for ST2, thanks to its data on ST’s first season. So it’s no wonder that the company had doubled down on marketing Stranger Things 2 across just about every channel available. In recent days, there have been Stranger Things Snapchat filters, Spotify tie-ins with characters playlists and spooky interactive experiences, haunted rides on Lyft, Stranger Things clothing, and much more.
That marketing buzz has paid off, as well. Nielsen’s Social Content Ratings found there were 7.2 million social interactions across Facebook and Twitter over the first three days the show was live.
Netflix doesn’t typically announce its shows’ viewership data, and it has gone so far as to call Nielsen’s data for SVOD viewing “not accurate,” when the measurement firm first announced its plans to track streaming video metrics.
In response to our request about Nielsen’s ST2 numbers, a company spokesperson replied:
“Their math might be from the upside down. Nielsen only measures a fraction of our members’ viewing. For example, they don’t measure mobile viewing. Our series are global and member viewing patterns vary greatly (what device they watch on, where they’re watching, what they are watching), making it very difficult to model, even if they had accurate samples.”
In other words, it sounds like ST2‘s numbers are even better than Nielsen is reporting.