Fair or not, all of Hollywood can’t help but compare Amazon’s “The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power” and HBO’s “House of the Dragon.” The two blockbuster fantasy series belong to arguably the most popular franchises of the last 25 years, carry unfathomable budgets — nearly $200 million for “House of the Dragon” and $465 million for “Rings of Power” — and premiered within two weeks of one another. The truth is both new series can boast bragging rights early on in their runs.
Amazon Prime Video made the strategic decision to release the first two episodes of “Rings of Power” last Friday. This move helped “Rings of Power” top “Dragon” in terms of audience retention as 87% of viewers who watched the first episode of “Rings” also watched the second episode (this is on par with Disney+’s Marvel series “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law”), according to Whip Media data provided to TheWrap. Whip Media pulls data from TV Time, a TV and movie app that tracks viewer interest across 22 million global registered users.
For “House of the Dragon,” which debuted Sunday, Aug. 21 with one episode, 74% of people who watched the premiere also watched the second episode (though combined linear HBO and HBO Max digital viewership increased 2% in that span, per HBO and Nielsen).