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  • New Nielsen data suggests that “The Rings of Power” is struggling to attract a young audience.
  • A third of the audiences for both “Rings of Power” and “House of the Dragon” is watching the other show.

Two big-budget fantasy shows airing at the same time, HBO’s “House of the Dragon” and Amazon’s “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” have invited comparisons, like viewership numbers.

Nielsen released new data Thursday that pulls the curtain back slightly on who’s watching each show, in the US at least.

68% of the audience for “House of the Dragon,” the “Game of Thrones” prequel, is concentrated in the 18-49 age group, according to Nielsen.

But “The Rings of Power” is struggling to attract younger viewers. It leans older, with 71% of its audience over 35 years of age.

Nielsen said that both shows have more male viewers, which it said “runs counter to the vast majority of streaming content.”

Notably, large swaths are watching both shows: 34% of “The Rings of Power” audience also watches “House of the Dragon,” and 34% of “House of the Dragon” viewers also watch “Rings of Power.”

As far as how much viewership each show is racking up, they’re close.

“Rings of Power” was watched for 988 million minutes the week of September 12 through September 18. It slightly edged out “House of the Dragon” on Nielsen’s latest viewing chart, which was watched for 960 million minutes in that time frame.

But the streaming chart only includes “House of the Dragon” viewing on HBO Max. The show also airs on the HBO cable network, which Nielsen said would add 210 million viewing minutes to its total, bringing it to 1.17 billion minutes — more than “Rings of Power.”

It’s not a perfect comparison, though. Nielsen’s data this week didn’t break down how much the new episodes of each series accounted for its viewing minutes. Nielsen’s rankings also measure Mondays through Sundays, and “House of the Dragon” airs new episodes Sundays at 9 pm — a limited window.

But the data gives a sense that both shows are performing well week-to-week, with a lot of overlap in viewers.

“The Rings of Power” in particular, though, has a lot of pressure on it given its hefty pricetag of over $400 million to make the first season, according to The Hollywood Reporter, on top of the $250 million Amazon paid for the rights.

It’s faced growing pains, with harsh audience reaction (It has a 38% Rotten Tomatoes audience score). Some of that is due to racist fans leaving negative reviews at sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, but it’s impossible to know how vast those kinds of responses are.

“House of the Dragon,” on the other hand, hasn’t seemed to face the same obstacles as “Rings of Power;” it has an 84% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. And it appears to be driving more online engagement.

For instance, just a quick look at TikTok shows that the “#TheRingsofPower” hashtag has 619 million views as of Friday, while the “#HouseoftheDragon” hashtag has 5.1 billion views.

That makes sense given younger viewers are more attracted to the latter. But it’s just one indication that “The Rings of Power” could better engage with a wider audience.



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