Nielsen Confirms 'Stranger Things' Season 3 Is a Big Hit

Stranger Things S03 Still 18 - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix has said that Stranger Things amassed a bigger audience over its first four days than any other original show in its history. New data from Nielsen shows that a lot of people did, in fact, spend the July 4 holiday weekend watching the series.

Per the ratings service's SVOD content ratings, the eight episodes of Stranger Things 3 had an average minute audience — the closest approximation for streaming shows to Nielsen's average viewership on linear TV — of 12.8 million viewers over its first four days of release. That's a 21 percent increase over the same time frame after the release of season two in October 2017 (10.6 million). 

The first episode racked up 19.17 million viewers in those four days, ahead of the 17.7 million who watched the second-season premiere within four days. Six of the eight episodes passed 10 million viewers over the long weekend (curiously, the least-watched of the bunch is episode seven, "The Bite," which implies that some people got impatient and skipped to the end).

The season premiere's first-day average minute audience of 8.86 million would rank as the No. 2 show on all of TV in the week of July 1, trailing only the 14 million for the Women's World Cup final on Fox.

A hardy 824,000 people binged the entire season on its July 4 premiere day, up from 361,000 for the first day of season two (which, to be fair, was not a holiday).

Nielsen's SVOD content ratings measure viewing on TV sets only. Netflix has long said measurements by third parties aren't accurate as they don't take into account viewing on other devices, nor do they cover the streamer's global reach.

Netflix said earlier in the week that worldwide, 40.7 million member accounts had viewed Stranger Things over four days, a record for an original series in that span of time. In company parlance, a "view" counts as 70 percent of one episode of a series or 70 percent of a feature film.

What both data sets suggest, however, is that Stranger Things is very popular. Below are Nielsen's four-day figures for each episode.

"Chapter One: Suzie, Do You Copy?" — 19.17 million viewers
"Chapter Two: The Mall Rats" — 17.62 million
"Chapter Three: The Case of the Missing Lifeguard" — 15.93 million
"Chapter Four: The Sauna Test" — 13.93 million
"Chapter Five: The Flayed" — 12.01 million
"Chapter Six: E Pluribus Unum" — 10.78 million
"Chapter Seven: The Bite" — 7.36 million
"Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt" — 8.71 million