It doesn't take a lot of fancy technology to tell someone a lot of folks watched Stranger Things Season 2, but it helps. Nielsen, who does the television ratings for traditional television programs, believes they've cracked the code on Netflix's elusive viewership numbers and has a number for how many people watched the series. For the first episode alone, Nielsen reports that 15.8 million viewers tuned in within the first three days of the premiere, and 11 million of those viewers were in the 18-49 demographic, which is impressive to say the least.
The latter statistic doesn't mean much to Netflix since they don't have advertisers to appease, but it's a significant demographic that most any television show would die to have. Specifically, Stranger Things Season 2's premiere numbers would rank it among the top 5 scripted shows on television, with shows like The Big Bang Theory, which had 16.5 million viewers the week prior to Stranger Things' Season 2 premiere, or ABC's The Good Doctor (16.9 million) performing slightly better. While those shows outrank Stranger Things, it still towers over most smaller successful shows like Riverdale, where the series-high of 2.34 million viewers is a little under half of what Stranger Things' lowest watched episode netted in three days, according to Nielsen's findings:
Chapter Two: 13.7 million viewers
Chapter Three: 11.6 million viewers
Chapter Four: 9.3 million viewers
Chapter Five: 8 million viewers
Chapter Six: 6.4 million viewers
Chapter Seven: 5.3 million viewers
Chapter Eight: 4.9 million viewers
Chapter Nine: 4.6 million viewers
What's perhaps most impressive about these numbers (via THR) is that 361,000 subscribers watched the entire series within 24 hours of its release. That's a community much larger than the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, and according to a 2010 census, is a community large enough to be Indiana's second largest city. If Nielsen got it right, and if these numbers are true, audiences could be getting a much more accurate look at Netflix's previously vague viewership numbers for shows going forward.
That's a big "if" though, as Netflix is refuting the report of Nielsen and its system for analyzing Netflix's metrics. Netflix released a statement about the report, but did not signify whether or not Nielsen was too high or too low with their findings:
The data that Nielsen is reporting is not accurate, not even close, and does not reflect the viewing of these shows on Netflix.
Until Netflix shows their numbers, we can only binge Stranger Things and make what we will of Nielsen's information. In the meantime, jump into Stranger Things Season 2 analysis with 8 big questions we had following the show's conclusion, or listen to our wonderful recap episode on The Cord Cutter Podcast. For more fall programming that's just around the corner, visit our fall premiere guide.