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Was ‘DAHMER’ More Popular Than ‘House of the Dragon’ and ‘Rings of Power’?

September 2022 was a busy streaming month. The busiest day ever, according to analysts, as two massive series faced off in a crucial battle for the Streaming Wars, but did Netflix eventually prevail with Dahmer? This is not a simple question to answer, but let’s attempt to do so.

House of the Dragon and Rings of Power are not new series in the sense that they are spin-offs or prequels of existing intellectual properties, and their showdown was expected to be the fantasy smackdown of the decade. Until Dahmer, a new contender from Ryan Murphy based on the true story of one of the most notorious American serial killers entered the arena.

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So, now that the battlefield’s dust has cleared, who won? Can we even tell?

Introduction

In this research, we will utilize statistics derived from multiple approaches and sources, making it extremely difficult to evaluate the performance of the various series.

In addition, we will utilize the statistic known as CVE or Complete Viewing Equivalent. That is, we split the Netflix-reported viewing hours by the length of the movie or series. It allows for more accurate comparisons across series, but it should not be utilized as an audience gauge.

Who won in the USA?

In the United States, we will mostly depend on Nielsen’s statistics, however, it should be emphasized that Rings of Power and House of the Dragon episodes were published weekly, whereas Dahmer was a binge-released series. Using CVE, it is feasible to compare the three series beginning when the two weekly series concluded the release of their last episodes. Here is what it looks like.

Nielsen viewership CVE data for DAHMER vs House of the Dragon and Rings of Power
Nielsen viewership CVE data for DAHMER vs House of the Dragon and Rings of Power

40 days after its release, Dahmer reached 23.5 million CVEs in the United States, while Rings of Power reached 15.4 million the next week.

On October 30th, House of the Dragon had around 15.2 million CVEs, and its curve was somewhat more ascending than that of Rings of Power.

In addition, the Nielsen figures for House of the Dragon only account for viewings on HBO Max, the streaming service, yet the series was also extensively viewed live and several times on HBO.

This caused Warner Bros. Discovery to issue a press statement mocking the average of 29 million viewers for each episode of House of the Dragon during its airing.

Warner Bros. Discovery press release for House of the Dragon
Warner Bros. Discovery press release for House of the Dragon

Viewers and CVEs are not similar, therefore let’s put an end to this discussion for now.

Nielsen’s figures only reveal that Dahmer and House of the Dragon were apparently more popular in the United States than Rings of Power. There is no way to determine definitively whether the series was more popular, Dahmer or House of the Dragon, but my intuition tells me that House of the Dragon was likely more popular than Dahmer.

Consider the internet demand as determined by Parrot Analytics. In addition, House of the Dragon appears to have sustained a higher level of interest over time than Rings of Power, while binge-released programs such as Dahmer rose swiftly to the top of the rankings and then declined.


Parrot Analytics data for DAHMER vs. House of the Dragon vs. LOTR: Rings of Power
Parrot Analytics data for DAHMER vs. House of the Dragon vs. LOTR: Rings of Power

However, it is important to note that four weeks after the publication of all episodes, Dahmer still had 28.6 times the online demand of the normal series. In contrast, Rings of Power dropped from the rankings two weeks following the conclusion of its final episode.

Who won in The Worldwide?

It is hard to estimate the global audience of House of Dragon. Because HBO Max is not available everywhere, the series is aired on national pay-TV networks in the majority of international areas, making it impossible to estimate its total viewership. Warner Bros. Discovery did not even attempt to reveal worldwide viewership statistics.

Rings of Power is accessible worldwide on Amazon Prime Video, however, Prime Video has only released watching statistics twice.

The first one occurred after the premiere of the first two episodes and teased 25 million viewers worldwide (a number for which we have no methodology).

In an interview conducted by Jennifer Salke in October, just prior to the end of the season, Ms. Salke stated that the number of viewers for the series was approaching 100 million consumers.

Again, no methodology was presented to explain how they arrived at this number. Does Amazon Prime Video discuss viewers? Accounts? Viewings? Total Screenings? It is impossible to determine, and this distinction is important.

That just remains Dahmer, for which Netflix revealed the total amount of hours seen worldwide up to seven weeks following its debut.

Here’s how it compares to the US stats, according to Netflix:

dahmer viewership numbers nielsen vs netflix
Nielsen viewership graph vs Netflix data for DAHMER

After 50 days, the series had around 109 million CVEs, and it surpassed 113 million CVEs when Netflix reported last week that one billion hours had been streamed in its first 60 days.

It also displays, in the hundreds of thousands, the number of users who claimed to have viewed each episode of a certain television series. A massive panel to evaluate, and here’s how the comparison between the three series at the start of December looks.

tvtime data for dahmer house of the dragon rings of power


House of the Dragon appears to be the clear victor, But among dedicated series fans, House of the Dragon dominated greatly.

This graph’s decay rate and how it varies between series is an interesting feature to note. The two weekly series, Rings of Power and House of the Dragon, lost 32% of their audience between the first and last episode, whereas Dahmer dropped just 26%.

This may be an indication that binge-released programs tend to keep their audience more engaged than weekly series, but we’ll need to evaluate further series to reach a conclusion.

Google Trends, which provides a glimpse of what people are searching for on Google at a particular time, is an additional global performance metric.

google trends data for dahmer rings of power house of the dragon
Google Trends data graph

This is a typical indication of how weekly series tend to maintain viewer interest over time, but binge-released programs tend to have a longer shelf life yet burst in popularity when launched. Based on this metric, Dahmer appears to be the victor, or at least the one who was able to capture the worldwide zeitgeist for many days.

Let’s conclude with TelevisionStats, an additional website that compiles a daily ranking of television programs by analyzing many internet indications.

television stats dahmer vs rings of power


Rings of Power and House of the Dragon appear to have a longer shelf life than Dahmer, but it is important to note the distinction between weekly and binge-released series.

House of the Dragon was rated 18th, Rings of Power was ranked 21st, and Dahmer was ranked 23rd one month following the publication of their last episodes. There is not much of a difference, but the weekly series appears to be more resilient.

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Final Words

It is really difficult to make any sort of conclusion from this article’s content. Based on the available information, I believe Rings of Power to be the least popular of the three series examined here. Dahmer and the House of the Dragon are, however, more evenly matched.

There may be more elements to consider while assessing their performance. As stated, House of the Dragon and Rings of Power are not new series, but rather part of bigger worlds.

On the other hand, Dahmer is based on the most notorious serial murderer in history, therefore it is hardly a confidential subject. Prior to their publication, both Rings of Power and House of the Dragon were highly promoted and teased. In contrast, Netflix essentially hid Dahmer and just revealed it five days before its debut.

The budget may also be considered one of these factors. The first season of Rings of Power reportedly cost $450 million to produce, to which must be added the cost of the universe’s rights.

The budget for the first season of House of the Dragon is allegedly over $200 million, with an additional $30 million for the unsuccessful pilot of the first prequel that was envisioned.

Dahmer may be the least expensive of the three series with a $60 million budget, but it follows a $300 million exclusive pact between Ryan Murphy and Netflix.

The most honest thing that can be done when studying streaming numbers is to admit that we will never know the precise number of viewers. And we never did. We can only attempt to compare the statistics we have in the most equitable manner feasible.

Let’s hope that what we’ve done in this essay is successful, and feel free to leave a remark!