‘Stranger Things 4’ Tops ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Premiere Viewership by 300% — But Its Also More Than 300% Longer

‘Stranger Things 4’ Tops ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Premiere Viewership by 300% — But Its Also More Than 300% Longer


“Stranger Things” Season 4 and “Obi-Wan Kenobi” are currently the leading titles on their respective streamers, and both debuted on May 27. With “Stranger Things” maintaining its status as one of Netflix’s most popular original properties, and “Obi-Wan Kenobi” marking the latest expansion of the “Star Wars” franchise, their premieres created what Nielsen called “the most anticipated weekend ever in streaming” — and Netflix came out on top.

Netflix reported that Part 1 of the fourth season of “Stranger Things” had the company’s biggest premiere weekend ever for an English-language series, garnering 287 million hours viewed globally. Nielsen measured the same weekend by TV viewing (no mobile devices) in the U.S. only, recording 4 billion minutes watched for Season 4 of “Stranger Things” and 5.1 billion minutes for the series overall, including the previous three seasons. Per Nielsen, it’s only the third series ever to accrue 5 billion minutes viewed in a week. (“Tiger King” and “Ozark,” also Netflix titles, hit that milestone in March 2020).

Disney+ also had its biggest premiere weekend ever, though “Obi-Wan Kenobi” was viewed for 300% less time than “Stranger Things” Season 4, coming in at 1 billion minutes viewed.

It’s important to note, however, that this isn’t a clean comparison. When viewership measurement comes down to time spent viewing, higher episode counts and longer runtimes provide major advantages, and “Stranger Things” has both. “Obi-Wan Kenobi” premiered with two episodes, both less than an hour long, and is releasing new episodes weekly until the series finale on June 22. The shortest episode of “Stranger Things” Season 4 Volume 1’s seven episodes clocks in at one hour and three minutes — so given that fans of each series sat down to watch all available content, “Stranger Things” was always going to come out on top. Volume 2 of the season will likely continue the series hot streak, as the final two episodes debuting on July 1 are roughly four hours long combined. The question remains whether weekly or all-at-once drops are the better move. Though “Obi-Wan Kenobi” couldn’t compete on the viewership charts, its undeniable that its continued release schedule is keeping the limited series a part of the zeitgeist for longer.

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