Nielsen Says 15.8 Million People Watched the First Episode of Stranger Things 2 Last Weekend


That’s more than The Walking Dead’s Season 8 premiere a week earlier…

Nielsen released its first batch of viewership data about Netflix.

The never-before-publicly-shared data shows that the first episode of Stranger Things 2 drew a bigger audience than the Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead, cable TV’s most-watched show a week earlier.

According to Nielsen’s SVOD Content Ratings, 15.8 million U.S. viewers watched the first episode of Stranger Things 2 over the first three days, including a whopping 11 million people in the 18-49 demo.

That puts it just above the live-plus-3 numbers for The Walking Dead Season 8 premiere on Oct. 22, which drew 15 million total viewers and 8.8 million in the demo.

The Stranger Things 2 demo viewership is also ahead of all broadcast entertainment programs in live-plus-3 (This Is Us had 5.8 million). As for total viewers, Stranger Things 2 is behind only The Big Bang Theory (16.5 million) and The Good Doctor (16.1 million) and tied with NCIS (15.8 million).

Stranger Things 2— which showcases dozens of brands in all of their ’80s glory—debuted last Friday. Over those first three days, every episode averaged more than 4 million total viewers, and more than 3 million in the demo, according to Nielsen. On Friday, 361,000 people watched all nine episodes of Stranger Things 2.

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The episode breakdown over the first three days was as follows:

  • Chapter One: 15.8 million total viewers, 11 million 18-49
  • Chapter Two: 13.7 million total viewers, 9.6 million 18-49
  • Chapter Three: 11.6 million total viewers, 8.1 million 18-49
  • Chapter Four: 9.3 million total viewers, 6.6 million 18-49
  • Chapter Five: 8 million total viewers, 5.6 million 18-49
  • Chapter Six: 6.4 million total viewers, 4.5 million 18-49
  • Chapter Seven: 5.3 million total viewers, 3.7 million 18-49
  • Chapter Eight: 4.9 million total viewers, 3.4 million 18-49
  • Chapter Nine: 4.6 million total viewers, 3.2 million 18-49

During those first three days, the average Stranger Things 2 viewer watched 2.9 episodes of the new season.

Don’t expect Netflix, which has always refused to share rating data, to acknowledge Nielsen’s numbers. Soon after Nielsen announced its SVOD Content Ratings last month, Netflix told Adweek in a statement that “the data that Nielsen is reporting is not accurate, not even close, and does not reflect the viewing of these shows on Netflix.”