Stranger Things Just Shattered Nielsen's Streaming Record

"Stranger Things" season 4 volume 2 is finally out. It's only the eighth and ninth episodes of the season, but both of them are so long that it might as well be four episodes. I know this because I can't stay up until midnight, and had to get up early to watch, and I'm still not through them. I was probably alone in that because not only did the midnight (PDT) release cause Netflix to crash for a bit, but Netflix apparently broke Nielsen's streaming record for the first half of season 4. Of course, Netflix isn't exactly super transparent when it comes to how they measure viewership, so do take this with a grain of salt. 

According to THR, the first volume of the season, which is episodes 1-7, hit 7.2 billion minutes of viewing for the week of May 30-June 5, 2022. This is a Nielsen report. That's the highest weekly total for any streaming service. Well, at least since they started keeping records, a bit less than two years ago. The two-week tally, according to the site is 12.34 billion from May 23-June 5, 2022. 

Minute by minute

Something to keep in mind here, as THR points out, is that all the episodes in a series contribute to the rankings, but they suggest that most of the minutes of viewing likely came from season 4, volume 1 of "Stranger Things." The highest minute total Nielsen has ever reported before was below six billion. "Tiger King" passed five billion twice, and "Ozark" once in 2020. 

Streaming services can be cagey about this stuff — not that I'm doubting that "Stranger Things" got a whole lot of minutes. I certainly watched it more than once. Streamers keep their info to themselves, and release the info they want, like percentages of viewership or the number of accounts watching a show. Each service has a different number of accounts, and with sharing (which they're apparently cracking down on now over at Netflix), it's really hard, in general, to know when things are being watched, and by whom, and for how long. It's also difficult to know if something is a hit, how it compares to what the budget for the show is, or if viewership is the reason for shows that are canceled.

It's not that I think "Stranger Things" wasn't as big a success as they say. I mean, I'm a fan. I don't know a lot of people who don't watch. I'm glad it's doing well. I can't wait for season 5 (and to finish season 4), but I'm not really talking about this show. "Stranger Things" breaking a record tracks for me. I just want to know what ingredients go into the milkshake, so to speak. 

"Stranger Things" season 4 is currently streaming in its entirety on Netflix.