Stranger Things isn’t just a pop culture phenomenon and product-placement bonanza for Netflix. The show’s third season is now the most-watched original programming debut on the streaming service, according to both Netflix and Nielsen.
On July 4, the first day the ’80s-themed sci-fi thriller was available, Stranger Things’ third season saw an average per-minute audience of 8.9 million U.S. viewers, according to Nielsen’s SVOD Content Ratings released Tuesday. That’s more than 1 million more viewers than the 7.7 million U.S. viewers who tuned in to watch the first episode of Season 2 when it premiered in 2017, and it’s the highest SVOD premiere audience Nielsen has analyzed to date, the company said.
Each episode had an average audience of 1.1 million U.S. viewers on the first day it was available, and about 824,000 people in the U.S. watched the entirety of Season 3—all eight episodes—on the day it premiered, Nielsen said.
All in all, more than 26 million unique U.S. viewers tuned in from July 4 through July 7 to watch at least part of the third season of the program, which follows a group of kids encountering and investigating the supernatural in the fictional town of Hawkins, Ind.
Over the four-day period measured, the first episode of the third season saw the most viewers, with an average 19.2 million U.S. viewers, Nielsen said. 8.7 million watched Season 3’s eighth and final episode during that same time frame.
On Monday, Netflix said the show was breaking records globally, too.
“40.7 million household accounts have been watching the show since its July 4 global launch—more than any other film or series in its first four days,” Netflix tweeted. “And 18.2 million have already finished the entire season.”
The viewership figures break a new record for Stranger Things, as Season 2 had previously been pegged as the most-watched debut of a new Netflix series since Nielsen started measuring the service’s viewership. Nielsen’s SVOD Content Ratings are U.S. only and only measure Netflix content viewed on connected devices, which account for about three-quarters of all SVOD viewing.
Netflix shares very little information about its viewership, making glimpses into some of the company’s most popular shows that much more interesting. In January, the company said more than 45 million Netflix accounts around the world had watched the Sandra Bullock movie Bird Box over a seven-day period, making it the biggest debut yet for an original film on Netflix. (Nielsen said nearly 26 million U.S. viewers watched the program over the same period, and that seemed to match up with Nielsen’s own worldwide data.)