Turns out American streaming audiences prefer DC comic characters over frustrated middle-school band teachers. That’s according to an updated U.S. Nielsen streaming chart tracking the week of December 21 to 27.
The updated list, which originally had Disney-Pixar’s Soul at the number one spot, now boasts Wonder Woman 1984 as the most watched show on subscription video-on-demand over the 2020 Christmas holiday week. The Warner Bros. film, which is 50 minutes longer than Soul, garnered nearly 2.3 billion minutes of streaming during its first two days of availability in the U.S. in the week ending December 27. That’s approximately 35% more viewing time than Soul, which received 1.7 billion combined minutes of Disney Plus viewing that same week.
Like Soul, Warner Bros.’ superhero sequel Wonder Woman 1984 made its world premiere on Dec. 25. Problem is that the day and date debut was made on WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, which Nielsen’s new weekly SVOD ranker does not track. Only viewing on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney Plus are ranked on a weekly basis by Nielsen.
But apparently someone over at WarnerMedia threw a fit and convinced Nielsen to estimate the Warner film’s viewing. A Nielsen rep said that Wonder Woman 1984 estimate is “a one time view as we work toward introducing the data externally.”
In a statement provided by Nielsen, HBO Max executive VP and GM Andy Forssell said, “The impact of Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max cannot be understated. As was announced on Wednesday during our earnings and as this Nielsen data shows, it was a huge holiday gift to the consumer at a time when they wanted and needed it. This partnership with Warner Bros. of course continues throughout the year but it began with Wonder Woman’s arrival on Christmas Day to great success.”
The revised chart is now made up of five series and five feature films, which comes as a surprise since Nielsen ranks streaming content by total minutes of viewing time in the U.S. for all episodes of a series. This makes the measurement tactic more favorable to series, not one-offs.
And there are other variables to consider.
Services with larger subscriber bases do better on Nielsen’s ranker. Netflix, which has dominated the list since it launched in September, has 73 million viewers in the U.S. while Disney Plus has approximately 40 million U.S. subscribers and HBO Max finished 2020 with approximately 17.2 million subscribers.
Runtime is another factor. At 151 minutes, WW84 was 51 minutes longer than Soul, giving the former an advantage in a metric ranking TV shows and movies by total minutes viewed.
According to Variety, the Nielsen figure suggests that WW84 “was viewed roughly 14.9 million times…” There is no comparable figure for “Soul.”
Nielsen’s data for the rest of the Top 10 streaming for the week of Dec. 21-27 remained largely the same—everyone just moved down a notch behind WW84. The Office achieved its all-time weekly viewing minutes high, with its 192 posted episodes garnering more than 1.435 billion minutes of total watching, placing the series now in the No. 3 spot on the list for the week ending Dec. 27.
Ranking No. 4 now is the Shondra Rhimes-produced Regency-era romance drama Bridgerton, which Netflix just declared to be its most watched series over 28 initial days of viewing.
Like every week prior, Netflix dominated the ranking list, but unlike previous weeks did not take the first or second slots.
Here's Nielsen's revised rankings for Dec. 21-27:
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