Netflix released its own numbers for the third season of Stranger Things, declaring it an all-time hit, but now Nielsen metrics for U.S. viewing say it reached 26.4 million unique viewers in the U.S. in its first four days. That’s also a record for a streaming show since Nielsen started sharing its SVOD Content Ratings in 2017.
The Content Ratings are derived from U.S. TV sets only (across set-top boxes, smart TVs and connected devices), so mobile, laptop and tablet viewing not counted. Netflix’s own figures were more multi-platform and global. Even so, they tell a fairly similar story.
Covering the holiday weekend, from Thursday, July 4, through Sunday, July 7, the show’s average minute audience was 12.8 million U.S. viewers. That’s a 21% increase from Season 2, which pulled 10.6 million.
The season’s first episode over four days had 19.2 million U.S. viewers in the average minute, compared with the Season 2 kickoff, which had 17.7 million. As far as binge-viewing, Nielsen said 824,000 U.S. viewers watched all 8 episodes of the season on July 4, the day of release.
Speaking of July 4, the average minute audience on that single day was 8.9 million, better than the comparable opening-day number of 7.7 million for Season 2.
Globally, per Netflix, 40.7 million household accounts had watched the show as of July 8, with more than 18 million having watched the whole season.
For Netflix, which is looking to attract members in 200-plus countries, the U.S. is but one key piece of the puzzle. Even so, the latest Nielsen numbers attest to the streaming giant having built its first bona fide franchise. Plenty of other Netflix originals have been popular and award-winning, but the all-out marketing and merchandising blitz behind Stranger Things has broken new ground for the company. As it gets set to release second-quarter numbers next week, Netflix is eager to alter the narrative from recent news that widely viewed mainstays like Friends and The Office are soon leaving the platform.
On social media platforms, Nielsen said there were 18 million interactions related to the new season of the show — 82% of them on Instagram, 16% on Twitter and the remaining 2% on Facebook. About 90% of the activity was generated by owned accounts associated with the show, Nielsen noted.
Here is a table with more complete viewing stats: