The battle for the best fantasy series is heating up as both House of the Dragon and Rings of Power were both watched by millions of viewers in the first four days.
According to an independent study done by Samba TV, the premiere episode for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power was watched 1.8 million times in the first four days in the United States alone. This makes the prequel series to the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy the most watched TV series premiere on Amazon Prime. The first episode for Rings of Power is also the third most watched video premiere on Amazon Prime when including movies.
The numbers may be astounding but pale when compared to HBO Max’s House of the Dragon. Based on the data, House of the Dragon was streamed 4.8 million times in the first four days. On the Sunday night premiere of the series, viewership was already at 2.6 million.
But #Amazon may want to pay attention to the fact that, according to #SambaTV, viewership for #TheRingsOfPower’s 2nd episode, released on the same day as the Season Premiere, is -28% lower, as only 1.3M US households gave Ep 2 a go after watching Ep 1 on its 1st 4 days.
— Luiz Fernando (@Luiz_Fernando_J) September 6, 2022
Having 4.8 million in the first four days places House of the Dragon firmly in the first place as it beat out Stranger Things 4 as the most watched series premiere of 2022. The Netflix series was streamed 2.9 million times in the first four days. This is nearly a million more than Disney's Obi-Wan Kenobi, which placed third, and is close to doubling the viewership of the Rings of Power.
A discrepancy in Samba TV’s numbers
Many pointed out the discrepancy between the numbers by Samba TV compared to what HBO and Amazon Prime released.
According to HBO Max, the House of the Dragon premiere episode had 10 million views in the United States as it set a new HBO record. Samba TV’s figure is less than half of that at 4.8 million. Meanwhile, Amazon Prime claims that 25 million viewers tuned in to the series premiere globally in the first 24 hours alone. This is the first time that Amazon Prime has released viewership data for any of its shows.
According to several sources, Samba TV’s real-time TV viewership data are gathered only from Smart TVs that have a Samba TV chip installed. There are only 28 million Smart TVs in the US that use the Samba chip to track data. Streamers watch from multiple devices. This might explain the huge gap between the numbers given by the independent researcher versus the streaming services.
While the data given by Samba TV only shows small sample size, it will still be interesting to see which TV show comes out on top at the season’s end. As a fan, it doesn't matter which one is ahead as long as the shows continue to give us quality content as they try to outdo each other in the TV ratings. Ultimately it will be the fans that win in this rivalry.
Rings of Power and House of the Dragon have both been renewed for a second season.
House of the Dragon streams every Sunday at 9 PM EST on HBO Max. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power drops a new episode every Friday at midnight EST.