‘Wednesday’ Outpaces ‘House Of The Dragon’ To Become Most-Watched Premiere Of 2022; Widespread Streaming Content Fuels Subscription Cycling — Report

Streamers hoping to capture audiences with their latest television series have a limited window to do so, according to a new report from Samba TV.

In fact, shows may only have a shelf life of about two weeks to attract viewers. Data from 20 of the most popular shows released in the second half of 2022 shows that 15 of them had driven more than 75% of their total 51-day viewership in just the first 15 days of release. The only exception? Netflix’s Wednesday.

The Addams Family spinoff series had only attracted about 66% of its viewers in the first 15 days and had a longer shelf life than most, Samba reports. Wednesday also blew past HBO’s House of the Dragon to become the most-watched premiere of 2022 in the 40-day viewership window (House of the Dragon won in the initial 15-day window).

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According to Samba, Wednesday‘s success was driven at least in part by the way the series went viral on social media, attracting younger audiences.

Getting Gen Z’s attention might be the new key to longterm viewership when it comes to streaming series. In addition to Wednesday and House of the Dragon, Ryan Murphy’s offerings Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and The Watcher were among the most-watched premieres of the year in the first 15 days of release. All four over-performed among Gen Z and millennial households.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, more people continued to ditch their cable subscriptions last year as well. Only about 48% of U.S. households have a cable or satellite TV subscription — and that number is significantly less among Gen Z and millennial households. More than eight in 10 Gen Z and millennial viewers stream their television, Samba reports.

But despite heavy content investments, viewers continue to demonstrate that their interest in a specific platform is oftentimes tied to only one piece of content, particularly across newer entrants with smaller catalogs of content like Apple TV+ and Paramount+, where over half of viewing households watched only one of the top 50 programs. For example, Paramount+ drew much of its viewership thanks to Taylor Sheridan. One in four subscribers only watched his shows on the streamer in the second half of last year.

Meanwhile Netflix and Disney+, each of which produced significant content across multiple genres, fared better with less than 40% of their viewers watching just one of their top programs throughout the half. 

This leads to what experts have dubbed subscription cycling, which is when viewers sign up for a service just to watch one specific program, before canceling and moving on to another streamer. According to Samba, only 29% of U.S. adults have subscription cycled in the past six months but over two-thirds of plan to in the next six months.

Read the full report here.

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