'Stranger Things 3' Sets Netflix Viewing Record for Series

The drama was viewed by more than 60 million member households in its first month, the streaming giant says.
Courtesy of Netflix
'Stranger Things'

Season three of Stranger Things is Netflix's most-watched original series ever, the streaming giant said Wednesday in its quarterly earnings report.

The 1980s-set sci-fi drama racked up more than 64 million views in the four weeks after its July 4 premiere, Netflix claims, far surpassing the numbers of any of the (relative handful of) shows for which the streamer has released similar figures in past earnings reports. 

Netflix counts a "view" as a member household watching 70 percent of one episode of a series or 70 percent of a feature film.

The huge figures for Stranger Things are no surprise: Less than a week after season three's release in July, Netflix said 40.7 million member accounts worldwide had viewed the the show, the fastest a Netflix original had ever amassed such a big audience. More than 18 million member households had already finished the eight-episode season within a few days.

Since Netflix started highlighting select worldwide view numbers in its fourth quarter 2018 earnings, the previous high for a series was 45 million over four weeks for The Umbrella Academy.

Nielsen also reported big U.S. ratings for Stranger Things, saying season three drew 21 percent more viewers in its first four days than season two in the same time period. (Netflix's company line is that Nielsen ratings don't present a full picture of its shows' reach as they don't necessarily measure viewing on other devices and don't count viewers outside the U.S.)

Among the other programming Netflix highlighted in its quarterly letter to shareholders: The critically acclaimed limited series Unbelievable has been viewed by 32 million member accounts in its first four weeks, and season three of La Casa de Papel (aka Money Heist) was the most-watched show in non-English language territories with 44 million households viewing.

On the feature film side, Netflix said the family film Tall Girl was viewed by 41 million member accounts in its first four weeks; the thriller Secret Obsession, starring Brenda Song, racked up 40 million views in 28 days; and Otherhood, starring Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette and Felicity Huffman, drew 29 million worldwide views in its first four weeks.

One notable omission from the viewing data was the final season of Orange Is the New Black, which debuted in late July. Netflix noted the show's importance in establishing the streamer as a place for ambitious series and highlighted some of the critical praise for the series, but did not mention viewership.