There’s a bit of wisdom you pick up pretty quickly, when part of your job is trying to figure out how well any given streaming thing is doing, ratings-wise: Companies keep their mouths shut about numbers unless they’ve got something to say that makes them look pretty damn good.
Amazon, for instance, has never released viewing numbers for any of its Prime Video releases, presumably because it’s not in the company’s interests to let people know that viewers kind of liked, say, the Wheel Of Time show. Take it as notable, then, that Bezos’ Boys have broken that precedent this weekend, announcing that 25 million people have watched The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power, its ludicrously expensive adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, in its first day of availability.
That’s a bit more than the population of Florida, all tuning in to see what a TV show based on The Lord Of The Rings might look like. (It looks, suffice it to say, expensive.) The real question, though, is one of that all important competition, corporate dick-measuring, i.e.: Did the first two episodes of Rings Of Power beat HBO’s competing fantasy series, the Game Of Thrones prequel House Of The Dragon?
If we can take all parties at face value—and accounting for the fudging everybody tends to do with numbers like this, doing things like claiming that turning on an episode for five minutes counts as a “view”—it sounds like it probably did. HBO initially claimed that the premiere of House Of The Dragon pulled in about 10 million viewers right after it was released, with that number climbing up to about 25 million since. Rings, meanwhile, supposedly clocked those same 25 million viewers in its first 24 hours of availability.
The question, of course, is whether it can keep up that momentum, especially since the show has already laid out multi-season plans that will keep it running from here to back again. (Although, as we’ve noted before, it’s nebulous what reception would count as a success for Rings, anyway, beyond everybody talking about in hushed voices filled with awe, since it exists as much to help establish Amazon as a premiere entertainment brand as to sell some particular number of Prime subscriptions.)