Nielsen Streaming Top 10: ‘Cobra Kai’ Debuts at No. 1, ‘Rings of Power’ Still Edges out ‘House of the Dragon’

Cobra Kai” had an explosive debut on Nielsen’s weekly streaming rankings, racking up 1.7 billion minutes viewed between its Netflix premiere on Sept. 9 and the end of the viewing window on Sept. 11. It’s a significant feat not only because of the series’ ample bump past the one billion mark, but because it achieved that number in what ultimately became a historic week streaming.

Nielsen’s Sept. 5-11 viewing window marked the first time four different streaming platforms have crossed 1 billion minutes viewed. In second place was the streaming debut of “Thor: Love and Thunder,” which was watched for 1.5 billion minutes upon arriving on Disney+ on Sept. 8, two months after its theatrical premiere. Netflix’s “Devil in Ohio” followed in third place with 1.4 billion minutes viewed after debuting as No. 5 last week.

The next two titles above 1 billion minutes watched were Amazon Prime Video’s “The Lord of the Rings” prequel series “The Rings of Power” and HBO’s “Game of Thrones” prequel series “House of the Dragon,” with “The Rings of Power” beating its competitor for the second week in a row — though this time, by a smaller margin.

At No. 4, “The Rings of Power” was viewed for 1.2 billion minutes during the Sept. 5-11 viewing window, keeping even with its tally on last week’s streaming rankings, where it took the No. 1 position. “House of the Dragon” remained in fifth place but clocked 1 billion minutes watched, an increase from last week’s 781 million.

Being major genre projects based on world-famous intellectual property, the two shows have been pitted against each other in popular culture, but there will always be limitations involved when comparing their audiences. Premiering new episodes on different schedules and appearing on different platforms, both have their own mix of advantages and disadvantages.

Namely, in favor of “The Rings of Power” is the fact that it’s a streaming exclusive on Amazon Prime Video, therefore all of its viewership on U.S. TV screens is accounted for on the Top 10. (Nielsen doesn’t measure viewing outside of the country or on other devices.) But “House of the Dragon” airs on HBO’s cable channel in addition to streaming on HBO Max. This means that a significant number of viewers aren’t being factored in here — potentially as much as one-third of the show’s audience, based on viewership on its premiere night when 3.2 million out of 9.99 million total viewers tuned in live on HBO.

At the same time, HBO’s release strategy for “House of the Dragon” is better suited for Nielsen’s measurement timeline. New episodes of the “Game of Thrones” prequel premiere on Sunday evenings versus Amazon’s Friday drops for “The Rings of Power. Therefore, the first two episodes of “The Rings of Power” were available to stream for the entirety of the Sept. 5-11 viewing window, while Episode 3 didn’t arrive until Sept. 9. By contrast, the first three episodes “House of the Dragon” were available for the entirety of the viewing window, with the added bonus of Episode 4 arriving on HBO Max a few hours before Nielsen stopped measuring.

The resurfacing of the “Game of Thrones” franchise also has viewers turning back to the original series. “Game of Thrones” came in at No. 7 on the chart, a drop compared to its fourth place position the week before, though its viewing minutes actually increased from 791 million to 805 million.

In sixth place this week was “Pinocchio,” Disney+’s live action adaptation of the Disney’s 1940 animated film of the same name. The movie was watched fro 930 million minutes during the Sept. 5-11 viewing window.

Holding up the bottom of the chart as usual were “NCIS” (747 million), “Cocomelon” (701 million) and “Grey’s Anatomy” (622 million).

See Nielsen’s newest Top 10 streaming rankings below, with overall streaming titles for Sept. 5-11 first, followed by original streaming titles, acquired titles and then films.

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