The Streaming Wars Kick Into High Gear: Paramount+ Joins the Nielsen Charts, Mando vs. Daisy Jones, and a Whole Lot More

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(Midday on Friday, my son got sick and was sent home from daycare, hence why last Friday’s Streaming Ratings Report is coming out today.)

After a slow start to the year, the streaming wars are officially in full swing. Between the biggest Star Wars series coming back for its third season, Netflix’s first live show of any kind, the return of Jon Stewart, and a Prime Video show from Hello Sunshine that’s been FIVE years in the making, we got a lot to talk about this week.

But the biggest story may not be any of those shows, but the latest (and last major) streamer to finally—finally!—let Nielsen publish their ratings…

Welcome to the charts, Paramount+!!!

(Reminder: The streaming ratings report focuses on the U.S. market and compiles data from Nielsen’s weekly top ten viewership ranks, Showlabs, TV Time trend data, Samba TV household viewership, company datecdotes, and Netflix hours viewed data, Google Trends, and IMDb to determine the most popular content. While most data points are current, Nielsen’s data covers the weeks of February 27th to March 5th.)

But First, A Fun Head’s Up

Since fall of last year, I’ve hinted, promised and implied that a big, big, BIG, BIG look, comparing theatrically-released films to straight-to-streaming releases, was coming. From me. 

Well, it’s ready. And it’s coming out this week, then through the rest of April. 

And those four “bigs” are no joke. It’s big. As I mentioned on Twitter, this thing really is the type of report that studios have (and do) pay McKinsey and other consultancies hundreds of thousands of dollars for. And you can have it for just $14 a month. (But hopefully $140 per year.) Based on recent headlines about Apple and Amazon committing to theaters and Netflix re-organizing its film division, the timing could not be better for this explainer. 

Plus as a bonus, I’m sending out next week’s Streaming Ratings Report to everyone for free, as a sample, so all of my free subscribers can see what they’re missing out on. 

Get excited. I know I am.

Television – Welcome to the Charts, Paramount+!!!

The big news this week is that the last “hold out” for Nielsen’s public ratings is a hold out no longer. That’s right, my ongoing joke (“Hey HBO Max, let Nielsen release your data” which morphed into “Hey Paramount+, let Nielsen release you data!”) is now moot. Here’s the top ten list for this week. Check out which Helen-Mirren-and-Harrison Ford-helmed, Taylor-Sheridan-created Western is on the list:

And it’s a pretty good debut, especially considering the size of Paramount+. (We don’t have exact numbers, but its usage has presumably been below 1% on Nielsen’s The Gauge. I think it has about 25 million paid subscribers.) Despite that, after the eighth episode, 1923 got 9.3 million hours, in the week after its finale. That’s better than Willow (which got cancelled), National Treasure, Andor, and She-Hulk, for context.

Longer term, I think it’s interesting that the smaller streamers—Peacock and Paramount+ are likely in the 20-30 million range of paid subscribers—can absolutely compete with the “mid-tier” streamers, like Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+ when it comes to their biggest shows. Of course, Netflix is a level above that—it can launch anything—but we see more and more streamers catching up, albeit slowly.

(What’s the old joke only I make? If you given an analyst some data, he’ll ask for more? Well, now that Paramount+ is here, c’mon Nielsen, let the streamers let you release fifteen data points each week! Or twenty! Or separate film lists into a kids chart and an adults chart! To be clear, I love that Nielsen publicly release data each week, especially compared to almost every other data firm.)

Television – Who Won the Week: Mando Season 3 versus Daisy Jones & the Six Season 1?

I love to set up “fights” between various shows when I can. But this week, pitting the third season of a huge show (The Mandalorian) against Prime Video’s latest original, Daisy Jones & the Six (DJ&t6), just isn’t a fair fight.

But even if it isn’t quite fair, it can be illustrative. 

In this case, The Mandalorian had a great debut. Interestingly, I’ve seen some chatter, mostly based on the “vibes”, that season three had a slow start, and I think Mando may be down a pinch, but the overall ratings news is mostly really positive. 

Starting with the Nielsen numbers, The Mandalorian’s third season got 13.7 million hours this week, compared to 17.2 million hours when season two came out way back in 2020. Of course, 2020 was a long time ago. Frankly, during the Covid-19 pandemic, folks were streaming a lot more. I’d add, that second season really smashed it, as it made the Nielsen year end charts, despite coming out in October:

The latest season is down, but still mostly inline with past season of The Boys and Mando, the two biggest returning, weekly series:

On Samba TV, as I pointed out last week, the latest season of The Mandalorian had 1.6 million households tune in, which is the same as Outer Banks. Yes, this too is a bit of decay compared to some previous seasons and other Disney+ series.

(Why are there so many Disney+ series in the L+4 view, meaning viewing in the first five days of release? Because Samba TV only releases select data points in their reports. In this case, a few data points focusing on this time frame for Disney comparisons, so Disney+ is over-represented. No, I don’t love selective data points like this.)

It is worth mentioning that The Mandalorian’s IMDb scores are bananas terrific: an 8.7 on over 500K reviews. Perhaps, though, the best performance was on TV Time. The Mandalorian grabbed the top spot and held it for four straight weeks, a strong debut. (TV Time has a “genre”-bias, as I’ve said before, but this is still strong.)

If you look way down on the lower right of the chart, you can see DJ&t6, making the TV Time charts for only one week in its fourth week of release. Which isn’t great. Meanwhile, it missed the Nielsen charts and debuted to 1.73 million unique viewers according to Showlabs. 

Here’s how that compares to some other top Prime Video debuts in 2022:

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The Entertainment Strategy Guy

The Entertainment Strategy Guy

Former strategy and business development guy at a major streaming company. But I like writing more than sending email, so I launched this website to share what I know.


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