The Witcher season 3 does not seem to be going especially well for Netflix, a series that once felt like it could possibly be the service’s Game of Thrones. Fans have been thrashing the new half-season in user reviews, mainly angry about Henry Cavill’s upcoming departure. But more pressingly, viewership numbers appear to be dropping.
Deadline reports that Samba TV data (not official Netflix data) shows that while 1.1 million US households watched the premiere, that’s down 15% from season 2.
I suppose that’s not the biggest drop and it’s certainly not unheard of to see declines as shows age. However, the more problematic stat is that viewers apparently gave up as the series moved through its five episodes.
- Episode 1 – 1.1 million viewers
- Episode 2 – 893K
- Episode 3 – 760K
- Episode 4 – 602K
- Episode 5 – 505K
So by the end of the season, which can all be binged at once, the show lost half of its viewership. In contrast, all eight episodes of The Witcher season 2 drew more than 1 million viewers during their first week, according to Samba. And of course Season 1 of the show was one of Netflix’s most popular ever. But you can see the problem here, and this is before Henry Cavill has left, getting replaced by Liam Hemsworth in seasons 4 and 5. If viewership is already dropping now, you can bet it’s going to plummet once Cavill is gone. But Netflix is already committed to finishing the source material story regardless.
The official Netflix stats here are that The Witcher season 3 has 73 million hours viewed so far. But it also has essentially no real competition. The highest profile series in the Top 10 list is probably the new season of Black Mirror, where even after three weeks, it’s still getting 28 million hours of views. And if the Samba viewership data is right, those Witcher numbers are heavily skewed toward the premiere, and not that many people are making it to the end.
The Witcher season 3 still has three more episodes to wrap up the season, one of Netflix’s splits which they’ve done lately with some popular series. But in this case it didn’t feel like a good idea and the cut point they chose in episode five is bad.
We’ll see how the final three episodes are received, Cavill’s last. And how seasons 4 and 5 go, which I cannot imagine are going to produce numbers anywhere near even these lower season 3 ones.
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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.