Back in the good old days of network TV ratings for shows were usually released the day after. Streaming makes things more complicated, the various streaming services usually keep ratings secret, but Nielsen does gather data here similar to the way they do it for regular network tv. However, it always takes a few weeks before the ratings are released and the ratings are no longer for individual episodes, but the entire series. Thus the ratings will also depend on how many episodes of a show are available. So it is only now, after episode 5 of The Book of Boba Fett dropped earlier this week, that we know the ratings for the pilot episode. And The Book of Boba Fett had a promising debut, it was not the #1 show on Disney+, which was Hawkeye, but there is a caveat. As mentioned, The Book of Boba Fett only had one episode available, and Hawkeye six. How are the exact numbers and how do they compare to The Mandalorian? Click through for more!
Before I proceed a few things about the Nielsen streaming charts: Nielsen only counts minutes viewed on regular TVs, i.e. people who watch a show on a mobile device, a PC, tablet or laptop are not counted. Also, Nielsen only collects data in the US, thus total global viewership will be much larger. Consider Nielsen numbers the bare minimum a show had, but nevertheless the US viewership numbers for people who use their TV to stream a show will most likely still be representative and give us a good idea how popular something is in comparison to other shows.
The top rated show on the Nielsen streaming charts is Cobra Kai, with a whopping 2.4 billion minutes streamed, however that is for 40 episodes. The Witcher season 2, with 16 episodes (inluding all of season 1 of course), is in 2nd place with 1.8 billion minutes.
The most popular Disney+ series is Hawkeye in 5th place, with six episodes counted, which accumulated 539 million minutes of viewing time. Which is substantially less than Wandavision had and also only about 2/3 of what Loki had earlier in 2021.
The Book of Boba Fett has 389 million minutes. This however, for just one 37 minute episode. The fact, that the series enters the chart with just one very short episode is remarkable. If you do a rough calculation and divide the total number of minutes watched by the episode length then a minimum of ca 10 million people in the US tuned in. But as mentioned above this is the bare minimum, since Netflix ignores people watching the show on phones, tablets or computers.
The Bad Batch, with two episodes, had 251 million minutes in its first week of release, with an extra long pilot episode and a shorter second episode. The Bad Batch disappeared from the charts after week 1, it will be interesting to see how the ratings will develop for The Book of Boba Fett, since fan reaction was mixed after the pilot.
There are no comparable ratings for The Mandalorian season 1. But we have numbers from Nielsen for season 2, however, as stated above, Nielsen does not measure ratings for individual episodes, but the entire series. And the season 2 numbers do include the season 1 episodes. That being said, with nine episodes of The Mandalorian taken into account, early season 2 had more than 1 billion minutes streamed.
Boba Fett’s 389 million minutes are still quite a feat with just one short episode. And remember, this is only for the US and only for people who watched it on TV.
To provide some perspective: Disney+ has ca. 118 million subscribers worlwide, and roughly 38 million in North America (US and Canada). So the Nielsen streaming charts ignore 68% of Disney’s subscriber base.
So what is the takeaway? Contrary to what some people may assume, Star Wars continues to be popular, roughly 10 million people (minimum, the actual number is higher!) or ca. 25% of the total North American Disney+ subscriber base watching the pilot is quite impressive in the modern entertainment landscape.
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