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Biggest debut: House of the Dragon or The Rings of Power?

September 9, 2022

The House of the Dragon versus The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power battle continues to heat up – and new data from Whip Media shows both new prequel fantasy series have bragging rights they can point to.

For starters, both series are among the top 5 series debuts since 2018, based on Whip Media viewership data. (Whip Media’s insights are based on data pulled from TV Time, its TV and movie tracking app that has more than 22 million global registered users.)

In fact, House of the Dragon – based on its viewership in the 3 days following its release on HBO and HBO Max last month – had the biggest series debut of all shows tracked by Whip Media in recent years. The Rings of Power, meanwhile, cracked the top 5 based on its own strong performance in its first 3 days following its premiere on Prime Video on September 1st (in the US).

Whip Media’s data found House of the Dragon had 51 per cent more viewers than The Rings of Power when comparing their respective 3-day periods post-debut.

The graphic below shows Netflix’s The Witcher, and Disney+’s Loki and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are the series sandwiched between House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power when it comes to the top 5 series debuts since 2018.

While House of the Dragon beat The Rings of Power in terms of total viewership, the Lord of the Rings prequel series did beat its HBO rival in one key metric: audience retention.

Rings” had 87 per cent of its viewers from the first episode also check out its second episode, per Whip Media – putting it on par with another recent Disney+ hit, She-Hulk-Attorney at Law. For House of the Dragon, 74 per cent of those who watched the first episode also watched the second episode – a very strong showing in its own right. And it must be noted that The Rings of Power benefited from having its first two episodes made available at the same time, whereas HBO released only the first House of the Dragon episode on August 21st; the second episode followed the next week.

What’s clear is that both series are off to hot starts. It’ll be worth watching closely as we move into autumn if these shows – which Amazon and HBO have bet hundreds of millions of dollars on – will keep the momentum going.

Categories: Articles, Consumer Behaviour, Content, Research