The Biggest Feature Film Miss in May Isn’t In Theaters…

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
(Welcome to my weekly streaming ratings report, the single best guide to what’s popular on 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.)

Last week was a bit of a mess for yours truly. Between my editor/research and I, our kids were home sick three of the ten work days. And we had a Memorial Day holiday yesterday. Hence why this report is coming out today, instead of last week. My goal is always to get the report out on Fridays, but working for myself, that’s not always possible. I’m working to improve some processes on my backend to speed things up to maintain that schedule.

(And yes, because I always have to mention it, things would go quicker with more support from free subscribers to keep building out my team. Remember, prices will go up by a dollar in June, so sign up now to lock in the lower price going forward.)

Otherwise, this was a bit of a down week on streaming, which can actually be more interesting. The streamers took a lot of swings and a bunch of them didn’t work. Meanwhile, the big new movie of the week was more of a single or a double than a home run. All that, plus Paramount+’s latest show to make the charts, the biggest feature film bomb in May, why a record-breaking debut shows why the “free” is a poor business model, what sport isn’t benefiting from Nielsen’s out-of-home viewership, and why reach still matters for big time IP.

Let’s get right into it!

(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 April 22nd to April 28th.)

Television – Three Binge Released Series Try to Take Out Fallout

The streamers binge-released this week’s three big new shows:

  • Knuckles on Paramount+ (a spinoff from the Sonic the Hedgehog film franchise)
  • Dead Boy Detectives on Netflix (technically comic book IP, since this show is a spinoff from the Max Doom Patrol series, which was a spinoff from the DC Universe show, Titans, but the characters come from The Sandman comic book series, all of which comes from DC comics)
  • Them on Prime Video (a sequel to the Prime Video anthology horror series)

Of the three, I’ll give the “win” to Knuckles, even though it had a lower number of hours than Dead Boy Detectives:

In this case, size does matter, but the size of the streaming service in particular. Netflix has six times the usage of Paramount+ according to Nielsen’s The Gauge, so a show getting 5.7 million hours for Paramount+ means more for that service that 10.6 million hours for a show on Netflix. Not to mention, Knuckles was short (only six episodes averaging 28 minutes) so it wins the “views” count at 2 million views to Dead Boy Detectives 1.5 million views.

(Reminder: I don’t love “views”—total hours divided by run times—since I think they falsely imply completion rates. And to be clear: the streamers could release unique viewers who watched a program, but they choose not to.)

That said, Paramount+ released Knuckles in one batch of episodes, so this 5.7 million hours doesn’t quite compare to some other past Paramount+ success stories (Star Trek and Taylor Sheridan series mostly):

Those series made the charts, but in most cases, they came out weekly. They also usually run for a full hour, for eight to ten episodes, so they also had a lot more hours to drive viewership. Again, it’s complicated.

Dead Boy Detectives, by contrast, feels like a missed opportunity for Netflix. I’m not saying every YA fantasy series on Netflix needs to do Wednesday numbers for me to call it a hit—Wednesday is such an outlier you can’t really expect that—but 10.6 million hours feels small. In fact, I called YA series one of my underperforming genres of the year in 2022, since so many show didn’t succeed two years ago. Of 332 season one series, Dead Boy Detectives ranks 104th among week one debuts across streaming. At a 7.5 on only 12.5K IMDb reviews, and barely eking on to the Samba TV rankings, the other metrics didn’t look great either.

That leaves Prime Video’s Them, which debuted to 4.2 million hours in its second season. It’s last season (which came out in 2021) debuted to 7.3 million hours. So this looks like a step down in interest, but also horror has a lower ceiling on streaming (and frankly in theaters) than most other genres:

The other commonality between the three shows is that all the streamers again decided to binge release them. So are weekly releases dead again?

Whither the Binge?

I like the binge versus weekly discussion because it represents strategy at its finest.

We’re just getting started with this issue, but the rest is for paid subscribers of the Entertainment Strategy Guy, so if you’d like to find out…

  • Why I’m still waiting to analyze the Baby Reindeer numbers…
  • A big first for Paramount+…
  • Another miss for Apple TV+…
  • What universally-hated TV show returned for another season…
  • A breakdown on Anyone But You’s streaming viewership…
  • A strong performance by Hulu in Samba TV’s numbers…
  • Which singer made a lot more money from physical sales than streaming listens…
  • The big change to Nielsen’s mostly The Gauge viewership report…
  • And a lot more…

please subscribe! We can only keep doing this great work with your support. If you’d like to read more about why you should subscribe, please read these posts about the Streaming Ratings Report, why it matters, why you need it, and why we cover streaming ratings best.

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.


Join the Entertainment Strategy Guy Substack

Weekly insights into the world of streaming entertainment.

Join Substack List
%d bloggers like this: