According to a new report, Stranger Things season 2 may have had a massive debut weekend. As new forms of watching television have grown in prominence, the traditional model of measuring a show's success has been upended. Between DVRs and streaming, the Nielsen ratings system that has been the industry standard for decades is no longer applicable. And with new media giants like Netflix reluctant to share their data, it can be hard to tell just how popular certain shows are outside of their social media buzz.
Stranger Things, for instance, was a huge hit according to Netflix and chatter online last year, but we have no concrete way of knowing just how many people tuned in. Unlike similar TV titans such as Game of Thrones, it's difficult to judge how much a Netflix show stacks up to its genre competitors. A few weeks ago, however, Nielsen announced it had a new method for judging certain high-profile streaming outlets. If true, the company could find renewed relevance but clueing us in to exactly how well Netflix's original series perform. Now, the first data from their new scheme has arrived.
Nielsen is reporting their numbers for Stranger Things season 2 across its first three days on Netflix (October 27–29), stating the series averaged 8.8 million viewers an episode across the new season. Additionally, the season was bookended with 15.8M viewers for the first episode and 4.6M for the final. The company also states an average of 3 episodes were binged at a time, with 361,000 dedicated viewers watching the entire series in the first 24 hours of its release.
These numbers are exciting for those interested in better understanding how Netflix's extremely popular shows actually breakdown in terms of viewership. Stranger Things dominated on Twitter this weekend, but cultural ubiquity doesn't always equate to actual viewers. This new data from Nielsen, however, paints a picture of just how well the show performed.
The big caveat here is that Netflix has roundly denied Nielsen's claims. After the initial announcement by Nielsen, Netflix was quick to assure everyone that the plan was purely fiction. Still, Nielsen are pushing their claims and Netflix's own secrecy prevents them from properly refuting the data.
In the past, Netflix has opened up from time to time about a show's performance, but only in contrast to other original shows on the site. They also recently revealed the fasted binge-watched shows on Netflix, offering a peek behind the curtain. None of these announcements, however, have come with any actual numbers for viewership. As such, Nielsen's proposed data is certainly enticing. Perhaps their claims will even drive Netflix to reveal the true numbers for season 2 of Stranger Things.
Stranger Things season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.