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Lord of the Ratings

game of thrones
Discovery says that 9.986 million people watched the premiere of House of the Dragon. Photo: Ollie Upton/HBO
Julia Alexander
September 6, 2022

Amazon’s long-anticipated, zillion-dollars-an-episode foray into the I.P. big leagues formally commenced on Friday with the premiere of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The series, which received strong reviews and enjoyed its own veritable Prime Day-style marketing blitz (including ads on the retail site), secured 25 million viewers within its first 24 hours, according to Amazon. This also marks the first major viewership announcement Amazon has released for one of its original titles. (It’s easy to see why.)

At first blush, these numbers seem pretty extraordinary. That 25 million figure represented 2.5x the number of viewers that tuned in for HBO’s House of the Dragon premiere, according to HBO’s own self-reported ratings boast just two weeks earlier. Streaming isn’t zero sum, but the comparisons were irresistible, and incredibly favorable for Amazon: In the great game of shows, Rings of Power was all but appointed the victor.