TV | September 4, 2022 3:58 pm

Amazon Touts a Viewing Record for “The Rings of Power”

There are still some big caveats, though

The Rings of Power
Sir Lenny Henry attends "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" World Premiere at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on August 30, 2022 in London, England.
Jeff Spicer/Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Prime Video

Once upon a time, there was an easy way to see which television shows were the most watched. This was an era before VCRs, DVRs or on-demand technology — to say nothing of streaming services. At the time, the live audience that watched something was the source of its ratings; nothing more and nothing less. And ever since technology made that era’s metrics obsolete, it’s been harder and harder to determine exactly how many people were watching precisely what shows.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Amazon Prime’s high-profile foray into having a signature show of its own, is the latest program to have some — but not all — of its viewing data released to the public. As Rick Porter writes at The Hollywood Reporter, Amazon shared an impressive statistic regarding the series — namely, that 25 million people around the world watched the show on the first day it was made available.

According to Amazon, that’s the most-watched series premiere on Amazon Prime ever.

That is, by all accounts, a large number of people. But there are some big caveats there. Porter notes that “Prime Video reps declined to say whether that’s an average viewership worldwide on day one, the number of people who watched at least a few minutes of the series, or something else.”

The question of how best to measure streaming titles’ viewership is one that’s unlikely to go away any time soon. Late last year, Netflix updated its methods for measuring viewership, while data on Disney+’s offerings has taken a very different form.

All of which means that trying to calculate a “winner” in streaming services’ high-profile genre offerings still feels more like comparing apples and oranges than anything else. Barring an industry-wide shift, it seems unlikely that this will change any time soon.