Before we start, let’s admit it: our minds aren’t really on streaming ratings right now, are they?
The tragic news in Ukraine will likely draw your focus away from entertainment news. I don’t blame you. I’m there too.
Still, I’m going to write this week’s report, because the streaming world isn’t slowing down. Yes, there are more important topics, but sometimes distractions like this are worth it. I also published on The Ankler (behind their paywall) on how well animation for adults has performed to date.
(Reminder: The streaming ratings report compiles data from Nielsen’s weekly top ten viewership ranks, Netflix datecdotes, Top Ten lists, TV Time trend data, Google Trends and IMDb to determine the most popular content. While most data points are current, Nielsen’s data covers the weeks of January 24th to January 30th.)
Time for another mystery. In this case, we look a two Warner Bros, shows:
Euphoria – An HBO Original, S2 released on 9-January on HBO.
Peacemaker – An Max Original, S1 released on 13-January on HBO Max, after a one episode sneak on HBO proper.
I’ve been fairly irritated with the folks at HBO, something I’ve let everyone here know about constantly. Because they don’t let Nielsen release their data, even when they claim they care intently about Netflix’s viewership data!
Worse, and this is just kvetching, I can’t get their PR folks to return my emails. (Update: After I posted this on my website, HBO reached out and added me to their distribution list!) They release fun little datecdotes to Deadline like this…
…but they won’t send it to me, probably because I’d make fun of all the vague statements of “gaining week over week”, with the only real number that Euphoria has a reach of 17 million accounts. Of course, I’d love to know EVERY little datecdote they’ve released—and that’s on the data roadmap for 2022—but it’d be easier if they just sent it to me! Then we could put Euphoria in context to Perry Mason, The White Lotus, Succession and any of their other TV series.
So how do I think the two shows performed? Starting with Peacemaker, I think well. Keeping in mind that a service like TV Time has a bias towards “genre” fans—similar to IMDb—Peacemaker has made the TV Time rankings for 6 weeks straight. That’s good enough for 6th place overall on TV Time among TV series since September 2021 (when my data starts):
Toss in an IMDb score of 8.5 on 57K reviews, and yeah, I think it’s doing pretty well. (That’s a good number for about a month of IMDb ratings, even with a bias toward genre shows.) I’d love to say “huge hit” but without more on how it has trended since launch I’m hesitant.
Speaking of IMDb scores, I mentioned in an Ankler piece that HBO has been on a roll. And yeah they can basically crank out an 8+ IMDb-scored show almost every quarter. Euphoria has an 8.4 on 125K ratings, joining Succession, Mare of Easttown, and Watchmen as 8.0 or above IMDb rated shows with 100K reviews.
Even more impressive? Euphoria’s Google trends:
That’s a leap. Probably driven more by social and buzz—lead star Zendaya (is Meechee) was also in the biggest movie of 2021 and dating Spider-Man—that’s still a ton of interest in the show.
Add it all up? And HBO did their HBO thing, launching two new shows that “entered the cultural” conversation, and as a bonus one is a DC show on HBO Max exclusively! I’d love to know more specifics, but we can say this at the least.
Quick Notes on TV
– For the second week, Ozark has to be content to hang out in the “Quick Notes” section. How dare I? Ozark’s numbers are eye-popping. Last week, I told you it joined the 40 million hour club. Well this week it shattered that club, getting to 68.3 million hours. To put this in better non-Covid -9 lockdown context, here’s the 40 million hour shows since 2021:
In the U.S., Ozark is bigger than Squid Game. Bigger than Manifest. Bigger than Bridgerton, Cobra Kai, and Lucifer. It’s bigger than everything. Having four seasons helps, but those numbers are just big. Period.
– Netflix’s big U.S. release for the week was the much too wordy title—but it’s a parody so it’s okay—The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window, binge released on 28-January and starring EntStrategyGuy fav Kristen Bell. It’s parodying the seemingly endless stream of thrillers on Netflix. It debuted to 10.8 million hours, good for 29th highest opening since 2021. Not bad. We’ll see how big a “binge release bump” it gets next week.
– The How I Met Your Father (HIMYF) Watch of 2022 continues into its second week. It again missed the Nielsen rankings, while its predecessor series did make the rankings. So it’s still a mystery! While it continued to do well in the TV Time rankings…
…its IMDb score remains stuck around a 5.1 Not good.
Two anecdotes also came in on whether this show is a hit. In the “firmly anecdata” realm, a buddy of mine straight-up said he watched the first episode, then binged How I Met Your Mother episodes instead of watching more episodes. That would explain it!
In the second, a reader emailed to float another theory for the renewal: to keep the showrunners happy. For basketball fans, this is like when a team gives a player a good deal to keep the relationship solid with the agent. In this case, maybe the development folks over 20th Century Fox wanted to to keep showrunners Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger happy, given that Love Victor is ending after its next season. That’s a strategy I kind of loathe, but this idea is a great explanation for the renewal!
(By the way, if you have thoughts on anything I write, just reply to the Substack email. I read every email, though am spotty on replies.)
– Another Korean series made the Nielsen rankings! This time it’s All of Us Are Dead, which debuted on Netflix on 28-Jan. It earned 7.5 million hours viewed in its first week, good for 41st place for a week one debut.
But what you really want to know is, how does this stack up to other South Korean series, right? To toot my own horn—because I’m super close to putting up a paywall—can anyone else tell you that? Didn’t think so. They just write “Hey, this South Korean show made the list. Like Squid Game!” We go a bit deeper here…
Anyways, I’ve tracked four series and one film that have made the Nielsen rankings in the U.S. from South Korea. You know the big one, but can you guess the other two?
I will add, there are a bunch of other South Korean series that were released in 2021 and 2022 that have failed to make the charts, including Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, Love and Leashes, Our Beloved Summer, Single’s Inferno, Sweet Home, The King’s Affection and The Silent Sea. If I had to draw a conclusion, I would note that the top series have heavy genre elements like horror (All of Us Are Dead, Hellbound), sci-fi (Squid Game, Space Sweepers) and mob/crime (My Name). The South Korean soap operas, on the other hand, haven’t broken through.
– In From the Cold is a U.S. show about a Russian spy that Netflix released also on 28-January. Man, so much content. It got 5.8 million hours. And since my “Last Six Weeks Chart” above can get crowded, here’s the debuts of the last two weeks:
– The Book of Boba Fett had a big jump this week, going from 9.7 million hours to 12.4 million hours. Is this because of a big surprise that week that had friends texting me to ask if I had seen it? Probably, but I’m staying vague to avoid spoilers. In the past, I’ve been skeptical that a single big episode could move ratings numbers, but I may rethink that position given this jump. Also, based on TV Time’s tracker, The Book of Boba Fett will fall of pretty quickly once it stops releasing episodes, as we’ve seen with past Disney shows.
– Now here’s a fun twist, the acquired TV ranks are getting crowded. As a reminder, Nielsen ranks shows by Originals, Acquired and Film. Most weeks acquired is boring, as it’s just filled with CoComelon, Criminal Minds, NCIS and mostly series on Netflix. But look at the bottoms of the ranks:
First, House is on the list for the first time ever. It’s currently streaming on Prime Video and Peacock (it was produced by NBC-Universal. I don’t have an explanation for the surge in interest, so if you have a theory let me know. Bones is also back on the list, a title streaming on both Hulu and Prime Video (it was produced by 21st Century Fox, so Disney owns it). Toss in How I Met Your Mother and Bluey, and yeah that’s a pretty non-Netflix focused list as far as things go.
– Let’s go quick on the “Dogs Not Barking” for the last two weeks. It’s official that Servant is a miss. Apple TV+ really needs to find their next hit. Also, we’ll confirm The World According to Jeff Goldblum missed in its latest batch of episodes.
As for shows released this week, we have a whole slew of shows that missed the ratings in their first week, including Netflix’s Neymar: The Perfect Chaos (which didn’t even do as well globally as you’d have expected), The Legend of Vox Machina (bonus points if you heard about this one), Netflix’s Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness (and I saw him everywhere promoting it), Apple TV+’s The Afterparty (big creator for this one too), HBO Max’s Gomorrah (an Italian transport) and Ada Twist, Scientist (a kids series on its second season).
The theme in streaming films this week is family films. Specifically, two streamers attempts to dethrone the king, Encanto. Did they?
They did not.
Home Team debuted to 7.4 million hours, good for 51st first-run debut out of 137 films in my data set. I’m not optimistic this holds on, being live-action. It also is more “family” than kids—rated PG—which could put it in a weird nether zone between kids and tweens.
Disney+ tried to take its own streaming ratings with The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild—part of the Ice Age franchise, a Fox property being uncomfortably smashed into the Disney behemoth—and it debuted to an even lower 5.8 million. Hotel Transylvania; Tranformania is decaying fairly quickly too.
At this point, nothing will slow down the Encanto behemoth.
(And this doesn’t have to do with ratings, but I want to shout out Stephanie Beatriz for her voice work on Encanto, given how much I’ve listened to it. For her to go from Detective Diaz on Brooklyn 99 to Mirabel is just phenomenal range.
Now if only I could get the Encanto music playing to stop…)
Quick Notes on Film
– The Fallout debuted on HBO Max on 27-January. Checking notes it’s about a…school shooting! Yikes. So much for lighter fare post-pandemic. It debuted at the top of the TV Time, rankings, but only stayed there for two weeks.
– Last week, I almost called out Munich: The Edge of War, released on 21-Jan, as a dog not barking, and this week it just squeaked onto the list with 3.3 million hours. Through two weeks, that’s good for 116th place on the list.
– It really was a light week in film, so the biggest Dog Not Barking candidate we have is Aziz Ansari’s latest comedy special. But at only 25 minutes long, and given that comedy specials don’t smash the ratings anyways, this isn’t a terrible outcome.
Anecdata of the Week – The Year Ahead in Film Anticipation
I’ve been saving two excellent anecdata for when we had room. We’ve covered “who won” 2021 in TV and Film, so now we can look ahead! To the future winners of 2021.
TV Time sent me their list of the most anticipated titles. Here it is:
Does something stick out to you? Yeah, theatrical titles. And comic books and huge franchises. It’s a franchise world and we’re just living in it.
And maybe that means something. Related, The Quorum continues their tracking of audience awareness and intent to view for feature films. And they’ve started adding streaming titles. (If you’re looking for newsletter subscriptions, besides The Ankler, I’d definitely subscribe to The Quorum. I LOVE their approach to data/film/economics of entertainment.)
Anyways, I highly recommend this article on awareness of Netflix titles, including this killer graph:
Basically, for all the commentary that streaming changes the game, it seems like good old fashioned awareness drives viewing on streaming just like theatrical.
We’ll have some splashy releases on each of the major streamers: Hulu with Pam & Tommy, Prime Video with Reacher and Netflix with Raising Dion. The last title is interesting, because we previously saw it in 2019, and that’s a big gap between seasons.
Of those titles, I think Reacher does best:
Later this month, we’ll also see Inventing Anna at Netflix—Shonda Rhimes next project in her huge overall deal!—and Space Force season 2. Man, could a show have bigger talent but less impact on the conversation than that show? In film, we’ll also see KIMI—from Stephen Soderberg square off against Tall Girl 2. The first Tall Girl film got the datecdote treatment, so I can’t wait to get actual numbers for its sequel.
Longer term, I’m waiting for the next Disney+ series, which is Moonknight. Given that Book of Boba Fett ended, it will be interesting to see if Disney+ has another dry spell, like they had from September to October of 2021, between Marvel What If…? and Hawkeye.
What will Disney+ do in the meantime? Well I saw the answer on my iPad this morning: theatrical films. Specifically, Free Guy and West Side Story are coming to both Disney+ and HBO Max. I can’t wait to get those additional data points on how well theatrical films do on streaming.
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