Amazon’s “The Rings of Power” has not captured a large audience: What can they do now?

Kent Kroeger
7 min readSep 21, 2022

By Kent R. Kroeger (September 21, 2022)

Graphic by Ian Alexander (Used under the CCA-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

[Disclaimer: The opinions (and errors) expressed in this essay are mine alone and do not represent the opinions of any of the media companies or creative properties mentioned herein.]

Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power TV series is going to be the most expensive TV show in history, with Amazon spending $465 million for its first season. When its five seasons are over, its total budget will be measured in the billions of dollars.

By comparison, HBO’s The House of the Dragon cost $200 million for its first season, and Netflix’s extraordinarily popular Stranger Things cost $270 million for its fourth season.

The problem for Amazon is that The House of the Dragon and Stranger Things are arguably audience-grabbing successes and, so far, it is not clear if The Rings of Power has found a mass audience.

When Season 4 of Stranger Things debuted in late June 2022, an estimated 301.3 million hours were watched, according to Netflix. As for The House of the Dragon, HBO reported 25 million people watched the August 2022 premiere in just over a week. Not to be outdone, Amazon reported the first episode of The Rings of Power, which debuted September 1, 2022, was watched by more than 25 million globally.

Would Netflix, HBO or Amazon shade the truth about their audience numbers? Of course they would. It would be criminally incompetent not to do so.

But how can we objectively decide if Stranger Things or The House of Dragons or The Rings of Power are, genuinely, popular with audiences? And how do they compare with each other?

Are streaming audience measurements believable?

At a time when consistent, credible audience measurement for streaming programs is still contentious, it is hard to find universally-accepted measures of audience interest in popular TV shows. They all have flaws.

Unfortunately, too many of the audience measurement stories published in the mainstream media use the content providers (e.g., Netflix, HBO, Disney+, etc.) as the primary sources for their own audience…

Kent Kroeger

I am a survey and statistical consultant with over 30 -years experience measuring and analyzing public opinion (You can contact me at: