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‘The Rings of Power’ Premiere Attracted 25M Global Viewers

Rings of Power
(Image credit: Prime Video)

CULVER CITY, Calif.—Amazon has announced that “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” attracted more than 25 million global viewers on its first day, making it the biggest premiere in the history of Prime Video. 

The series, which has been described as the most expensive TV show ever made, launched exclusively on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide.

“It is somehow fitting that Tolkien’s stories - among the most popular of all time, and what many consider to be the true origin of the fantasy genre - have led us to this proud moment,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios in a statement. “I am so grateful to the Tolkien Estate – and to our showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, executive producer Lindsey Weber, cast and crew - for their tireless collaborative efforts and boundless creative energy. And it is the tens of millions of fans watching – clearly as passionate about Middle-earth as we are – who are our true measure of success.”

Episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will launch weekly through the October 14 season finale on Prime Video.

Separately, Samba TV reported that the premiere episode drew 1.8 million U.S. households during its opening weekend. 

“‘The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power’ garnered the best premiere of any Amazon series debut so far this year,” Samba TV co-founder and CEO Ashwin Navin said. “While initial results were strong compared to other Amazon Prime debuts, “The Rings of Power” has room to grow to match the impressive numbers of established franchises like Stranger Things and appears, at least early on, to face some challenges engaging younger audiences. Traditionally, Prime originals tend to attract larger audience proportions in the days immediately following their release than other leading streamers and this could be the case once again with 'The Rings of Power' as this weekend’s premiere has clearly set a strong foundation of viewership from which to build upon. As the streamer seeks to tap into the existing fanbase for J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world more than two decades after the blockbuster films were initially introduced, the real challenge and opportunity for Amazon is whether it can expand beyond hard-core fans to introduce a new generation of viewers to Middle Earth and help launch an entirely new programming franchise.”

Samba TV offered this viewership breakdown for The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power (L+3 data):

  • 1.8 million U.S. households watched "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" episode 1 on Amazon Prime during the L+3D window. 
  • 1.3 million U.S. households watched "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" episode 2 on Amazon Prime during the L+3D window.
  • The debut of the series marked Amazon Prime’s highest three-day viewership of any 2022 premiere on the platform.

 Samba TV also provided data showing how “The Rings of Power” compared to other recent streaming programs in the L+3D window:

  • "Stranger Things" (Netflix), season 4, volume 1, episode 1 was viewed by 2.9 million U.S. households.
  • "Obi-Wan Kenobi" (Disney+), episode 1 was viewed by 2.1 million US Households 

 In addition Samba TV reported that the top 2022 premiere on Netflix ("Stranger Things", season 4 premiere), drove 22% of its initial month (L+30) viewership within the first day, whereas the top Disney+ premiere ("Obi-Wan Kenobi" premiere) drove 28%, indicating that roughly one-quarter of those show's viewers were highly anticipating the premieres to the point of immediately watching on their first day live.

By comparison, Amazon Prime shows tend to see a slower build up, with fewer viewers looking to tune-in immediately upon release, Samba TV reported. Looking at some of Amazon Prime’s recent top shows, Samba TV data saw a smaller proportion of L+30 viewership occur within the first day. For example, "The Terminal List" 101 and "Outer Range" 101 drove 13% and 15% of L+30 viewership within the first day, respectively. Even recurring series such as "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" saw a lower proportion of L+0 tune-in than Netflix and Disney+, at 18%. Waiting for a full month of data will help provide a more comprehensive picture for how “The Rings of Power” compares to other streaming releases.   

HBO’s "House of the Dragon" premiere over-indexed by 3% among Gen-Z while Amazon Prime’s "Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" under-indexed by 4% among the Gen-Z audience, indicating that "House of the Dragon" might be doing a better job engaging younger viewers who did not watch the original "Game of Thrones" when it initially aired more than a decade ago, Samba TV reported.

There was a viewership drop-off between episodes 1 and 2 of “The Rings of Power”, indicating that about one in four households that watched episode 1 were not interested in continuing to watch the next episode within the initial L+3 window. 

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.