The Numbers Are In And The Rings Of Power Failed

The Rings of Power finished 2022 as the 15th most viewed original series, losing to The Boys, Cobra Kai, and Umbrella Academy among others.

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

rings of power galadriel

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. Not inscribed on the One Ring is anything about one season to disappoint them, and in the darkness of winter, quietly admit that the real power resides with another. Bounding into Comics reports that Amazon’s Rings of Power, the most expensive series from Amazon Studios, did not bring in enough viewers to justify the price tag.

Nielsen has been the most trusted name in television ratings for decades and the companies efforts in tracking streaming programs is also second to none. As a result, when the best tracking company in the country reports that the Rings of Power wasn’t even the most viewed original on Amazon Prime Video, it’s not good for the Tolkien adaptation. Months ago, the head of Amazon Studios talked about the records broken by the series, but going by Nielsen’s information, a different narrative for the show takes shape.

Rings of Power started out very strong with over 25 million viewers worldwide for the first episode. That’s good! By Amazon’s own admission 100 million watched the series while it was first airing! That’s good! The series is eight episodes long meaning 75 million watched the remaining 7 episodes, which equates to barely over 10 million for each of them. That’s not good!

Now those numbers are going by what Amazon has publicly shared, which are vastly different from Nielsen’s report for 2022. In the Nielsen report, Rings of Power is the 15th most watched original series, losing out to Netflix’s heavy hitters Wednesday, Great British Baking Show, Umbrella Academy, and Inventing Anna. Worse for the show that cost millions just to acquire the rights from Tolkien’s estate, is that The Boys did better numbers.

rings of power stranger
The Stranger from Rings of Power

The criteria used by Nielsen is for minutes viewed which may favor shows with more episodes available but Wednesday (eight episodes) and Inventing Anna (nine episodes) disprove that theory. Rings of Power, by all available metrics, simply did not have the staying power of a massive hit like Game of Thrones or The Last Of Us, two shows that grew their audience over time. Even The Boys put up higher numbers in season 3 than it did in season 1.

Using Amazon’s numbers mean that the Rings of Power was a disappointment, going by the Nielsen numbers it also underperformed, which means this would be a great time to try and use social media and figure out how the public felt about the show. On every platform, from Facebook to Tumblr, Twitter to Mastodon, fans expressed a mostly negative sentiment about the series. To Amazon’s credit, the Head of Global Television Vernon Sanders did publicly say that “some people just aren’t on board.”

Rings of Power is returning for a second season sometime in 2024. Hopefully in the meantime the studio is retooling and revising the scripts based off of fan feedback. While it’s never good to fully listen to the fans, making small adjustments here and there can dramatically alter how a show is perceived by the public. When the most expensive show in a company’s history, based off of a franchise that has stood the test of time for nearly 100 years, is losing out to Gilmore Girls and Cobra Kai, it’s time to try something different.