The Boys and Mulan Bring Amazon and Disney+ into Nielsen’s Streaming Top 10

Nielsen’s Streaming Top 10 has its first non-Netflix entries in Amazon’s The Boys and Disney Plus’s Mulan.

Amazon's The Boys and Disney's Mulan
Photo: Amazon Prime Video/Disney+

Nielsen’s weekly streaming rankings may be a metric category that only started a mere month ago, but the latest report yields a potential bellwether indicator for its heretofore Netflix-dominated Top 10. Indeed, the September numbers for Amazon Prime Video second-season series The Boys and Disney+ premium feature Mulan have cracked a Netflix Nielsen bulwark.

The company’s top 10 streaming programs for the week of August 31 to September 6 have arrived via THR, and an initial glance yields good news for Netflix, namely the August-arrived, YouTube-imported series, Cobra Kai, which has come from behind to nab the #1 spot with 2.17 billion streaming minutes, having crane-kicked the previous topper, fellow Netflix series (and Fox import,) Lucifer, which fell to second place with 1.42 billion for the August-premiered Season 5. However, Nielsen’s first non-Netflix entry follows, with Amazon’s The Boys at #3 with 891 million for its September 4 premiered weekly-episode-doling second season. Likewise, the #10 spot saw Disney+ get on the map with its theater-bypassing release of feature Mulan, which garnered 525 million.

As Scott N. Brown, general manager of audience measurement at Nielsen, states of the latest results:

“Streaming is definitely having its moment. Among homes that can stream, a quarter of their TV time is spent doing it, and compelling content certainly helps to drive audiences to these streaming services. It’s very encouraging to see clients using our data to evaluate the performance of these programs and how it showcases their own unique audiences.” He continues, “The response to Nielsen’s streaming top 10 has been very positive, and this week it highlights one studio placing both first and third in our rank. We look forward to the continued expansion of streaming measurement and providing the industry with this much-needed competitive insight.”

The initial incursion of Amazon and Disney+ into Netflix-dominated top 10 territory is certainly significant in terms of public perception, newness of the metric notwithstanding. Yet, the concept of streaming metrics is still in its infancy, as disclosed on the company’s website, which explains how “Nielsen representative panels of Internet users” report browsing and streaming metrics, which are cross-referenced with census measurements, after which modeled databases measure audience engagement. However, the numbers are still unspecific regarding mobile media data, for which the company is currently attempting to develop an on-device meter panel to record metrics. Consequently, it’s all still anecdotal food for thought.

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Nevertheless, a presence on Nielsen’s top 10 is an angle that Amazon Prime and Disney+ will interpret as substantive validation of their respective efforts to break into the streaming game. However, it’s especially interesting to see how The Boys ended up being the first Amazon Prime Video offering to reach this apparent stratosphere, especially with the ultraviolent, sexually-explicit and demographically-restricted TV MA-rated genre series not being a Marvel or DC comic book adaptation. It’s a notion that breaks conventional logic of the COVID-shrunk box office dynamic, in which Mulan, the heavily-heralded Disney live-action movie, would have likely dominated any Boys-like R-rated-equivalent competition with ruthless efficiency.

Yet, that doesn’t necessarily diminish Mulan’s #10 placement, since—unlike the other top 10 entries—it happens to be a premium offering on Disney+, for which subscribers must fork over $29.99 in addition to their subscription cost to view the film, granting the viewer perpetual streaming access. Thus, despite the array of qualitative criticism and its problematic attachment to Sino-American geopolitics, the amount of people who capitulated to the paywall was seemingly significant enough for the film to place in the top 10. – It hardly matches the billion-plus-dollar box office grosses the studio originally imagined for the picture, but it’s something.

You can check out Nielsen’s top 10 streaming programs for Aug. 31-Sept. 6 just below, with the previous week’s placements in parentheses:

  1. (2). Cobra Kai (Netflix), 2.17 billion minutes viewed
  2. (1). Lucifer (Netflix), 1.42 billion
  3. (nr). The Boys (Amazon), 891 million
  4. (3). The Office (Netflix), 843 million
  5. (7). Criminal Minds (Netflix), 675 million
  6. (8). Shameless (Netflix), 639 million
  7. (nr). Away (Netflix), 631 million
  8. (7). Grey’s Anatomy (Netflix), 616 million
  9. (4). The Legend of Korra (Netflix), 541 million
  10. (nr). Mulan (Disney+), 525 million