What Streamer Got a Much Needed Hit? And What Superhero Film Rebounded on Streaming?

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(Welcome to my weekly streaming ratings report, the single best guide to what is popular in streaming TV and what isn’t. I’m the Entertainment Strategy Guy, a former streaming executive who now analyzes business strategy in the entertainment industry. If you were forwarded this email, please subscribe to get these insights each week.)

Trust me, I don’t want to pick on certain streamers.

Like Hulu or Apple TV+. I really like a few of the shows on Hulu, and I’ve been using it since 2008, way before streaming was cool. And Apple TV+ makes the exact type of shows I want to watch. But I gotta go where the data leads me. And that data says that Apple TV+ just doesn’t really make hits that often.

Neither does Hulu. As I’ve covered a few times already, Hulu NEEDED a hit. With Shōgun, Hulu appears to have one. So does this one hit change Hulu’s fortunes as a hitmaker? In today’s Streaming Ratings Report, I’ll try to answer that question. That, plus three big films (Napoleon, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and Spaceman), Love is Blind’stremendous run, Masters of the Air and Halo continuing their run on the charts, Apple TV+’s spring content push, Peacock’s straight-to-streaming animated film miss, and more.

One of the “and more” topics that I won’t cover this week is the Netflix Slam, the latest live-streamed sporting even from the leading subscription streamer. We didn’t get any ratings from either Nielsen or Netflix, so I’m going to discuss it next week when we get data on Netflix’s latest sports docuseries, Full Swing.

(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 26th to March 3rd.)

Reader Request of the Week

One of the joys of running a website/newsletter/column that is getting more and more attention from more and more of the right people—and that’s honestly an understatement at this point—is that I get some tremendous feedback from my super-intelligent audience. Being a “strategy guy” doesn’t mean you know everything, and one stays good at strategy by taking in new information and updating their beliefs.

This week, I’d like to try out asking this crowd (my readers) for information or advice or thoughts if they have it.

On Tuesday, I mentioned this factoid about Luminate, the data science company who just started publishing data in Variety “exclusively”. Why the quotation marks? They added this addendum:

“While other media sources can cite Luminate’s streaming viewership data, only Variety will have the right to publish charts using this data.”

I mentioned that I’d love to know if this is legal, but I only got one reply on Twitter, so if any lawyers have thoughts about this, hit reply to this email and let me know. Is this legal? Other folks want to know too. (If you’d like to be quoted in a future email, let me know that as well.) Substack recently started a direct message feature, but email (see my contact page) is still the best way to reach me.

Television – Hulu Has Their Biggest Debut Hit Since 2021

As I’ve mentioned once or twice before, Hulu can be a bit particular about what they call an original. Folks at Hulu have told me that even if they release a press release about a show calling it “Hulu Original”, brand it as an “Hulu Original” on their website, and even categorize it as an “Hulu Original” on their website, it may not, in fact, be an original! Confusing!

Ready to be even more confused? Shōgun is a Hulu Original (go to this simple hub on Hulu.) branded as “FX”, as they did with The Bear (Hulu has quietly retired the “FX on Hulu” branding…), but this show is also airing on FX! (To be clear, that’s a dual-cast strategy that I like.)

Regardless, it’s a streaming Original, so that means we get streaming ratings data for this show, and we get to analyze it.

Anyways, FX/Hulu/Disney clearly marketed the hell out of Shōgun. (I saw billboards and ads for it everywhere.) And the good news? It looks like it worked. With only two episodes, it made the Nielsen top ten charts. It’s IMDb score looks elite too, a 9.1 on 49K reviews.

Is it a hit show then? Well, it didn’t best Hulu’s previous biggest hit, Candy, which released every episode over the course of a week to drive Emmy interest, but it is Hulu’s best weekly launch ever. (I wish I could poll my audience to see how many folks remember Candy and/or the lead star…) That said, Only Murders in the Building had half-hour episodes, so call it a push. Here’s all of Hulu’s debut shows on Nielsen to date:

At worst, it’s a “hit for Hulu” and Hulu still needed one of those. The Samba TV numbers are even better. They noted that 1.8 million households watched Shōgun just on streaming. (I clarified with Samba TV if they included linear viewing, and they did not, so this means even more households watched on linear too.) Here’s a chart comparing Shōgun to other Hulu Originals:

And it looks like the interest will hold, as Shōgun topped the Samba TV charts this week, and the week of 4-March.

As I always caution with weekly shows, let’s wait to make a final judgement call until we see how this series performs in the long term. If it falls off in two weeks, that’s a sign that the marketing worked but the show didn’t hold interest. If it holds on for multiple weeks (like some weekly originals I’ll cover below), it’s a hit.

Even then, this doesn’t quite offset the bad year Hulu had in 2023. Hulu doesn’t need to launch a hit every other year; it needs to launch multiple hits every year.

Quick Notes on TV

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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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