Stranger Things season four has defeated Obi-Wan Kenobi in the latest titanic showdown between Netflix and Disney Plus.
Judging by data compiled by public perception firm Nielsen (as reported by Deadline (opens in new tab)), Obi-Wan Kenobi failed to deliver much of a shock in his fight against Stranger Things season four.
The popular Netflix show racked up 5.1 billion minutes of streaming in the three days after its premiere on May 27 – becoming only the third series to break the 5 billion minute mark in streaming history. Tiger King (5.3 billion) and Ozark (5.2 billion) are the only other titles to accomplish a similar feat.
On the other hand, Obi-Wan’s standalone series racked up a billion minutes of streaming during its opening weekend (also May 27), which is still a pretty impressive amount. The latest Star Wars series may have suffered a huge loss for Stranger Things 4, but the Disney Plus show has set a new record for Disney’s streaming service. Reaching one billion minutes of streaming in the first few days after launch, Obi-Wan became the first non-film project in Disney Plus history to reach this milestone. The first season of Loki accomplished a similar feat, but not until several episodes were released.
Of course, there are extenuating circumstances for Stranger Things’ big win. The series created by the Duffer brothers comprises four seasons, plus Stranger Things fans have likely rewatched previous entries to remember what happened before the fourth season arrived. Stranger Things 4 volume 1 also contains seven episodes – all released on release day of May 27.
Meanwhile, Obi-Wan debuted with a two-episode premiere on the same date. Also, the often-maligned prequel movies aside, it hasn’t previously released content to support it in the same way as Stranger Things season 4. Ultimately, Nielsen’s data only takes into account US audiences, so it’s very likely that both shows will receive increases in their streaming minute totals if global numbers are taken into account.
All that said, Stranger Things 4 still beat Obi-Wan single-handedly in the US. The last installment of the series recorded four billion minutes of streaming – the other billion are split between seasons 1, 2 and 3. The first episode of season four also beat Obi-Wan’s first entry in the opening weekend, registering 12.7 million minutes viewed compared to 11.2 million.
Obi-Wan scored a small victory over his competitor, mind you. The opening episode of Obi-Wan racked up 6.2 million minutes watched on May 27, while the premiere of Stranger Things 4 racked up just 6 million. It seems, then, that the audience was initially more intrigued by what Obi-Wan had to offer. In the long run, though, the beloved Star Wars character failed to pull off a Jedi mind trick on the Upside Down.
Analysis: A big win for Netflix ahead of a pivotal summer
Netflix needed a big win to turn its fortunes after an unusually difficult period for the streaming giant. With low subscriber numbers, the company’s password-sharing crackdown not going down well with the public, financial problems and multiple show cancellations, Netflix was desperate to turn this negative press into something more positive.
The acclaim that received Stranger Things 4 (and Netflix by proxy) then clearly did the job. Now, the streamer can boast of having the three most watched shows in streaming history, the largest subscriber base among their peers, and the highest number of wins ever for a streaming company. Not bad for a corporation that has had its fair share of bad press in recent weeks.
With Netflix Geeked Week 2022 in full swing, June could be the start of Netflix putting most of that negativity behind us. The streaming giant has a slew of big shows and movies coming out later this year, including The Sandman, The Gray Man, and The Witcher: Blood Origin, all slated to arrive before the end of the year. Add in the fact that Stranger Things season 4 volume 2 is also due to arrive on July 1st – with two full-length episodes – and Netflix will be confident in delaying its biggest rivals.
Yes, Netflix problems will not be solved overnight. With Apple TV Plus and HBO Max vying for its prestigious crown in TV streaming, and Disney Plus growing its own subscriber base, Netflix can’t rest on its laurels either. Still, the streaming company can bask in the glow of a job well done with Stranger Things 4 — and its wildly successful release could be the ticket for Netflix to reassert its dominance in the streaming landscape.
For more Netflix-based content, check out our coverage of Netflix Geeked Week 2022 with these stories in Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, the new trailer and release date for The Sandman, and a clip from season 3 of The Umbrella Academy.