Netflix’s 'Stranger Things' breaks premiere viewership record with 287M hours

The final season of “Stranger Things” debuted Friday and broke the premiere weekend record for an English language TV show on Netflix, with 286.7 million hours streamed.

In yet another record for a premiere weekend, Netflix said “Stranger Things 4” took the number one spot in 93 countries, while Stranger Things was the top ranked TV in 83 countries. Netflix released the first seven episodes of the latest season. The remaining installment will air July 1.

The record smashing streaming hours compares to the second most popular English-language TV show for the week, “The Lincoln Lawyer,” which had its third week in the top 10 and accounted for 64.8 million hours streamed.

Netflix also got viewing bumps as people tuned in to check out the first three seasons of the “Stranger Things” franchise, which took the third, fourth, and fifth spots in the top 10 TV titles for May 23-29. Combined, viewers spent 84.55 million hours streaming the first three seasons of the hit show.

Analysts from KeyBanc pointed out that Netflix shows tend to usually hit their peak in the second week, meaning it’s likely that the fourth season is on track towards regaining status as the streaming giant’s most popular show worldwide.

Still, as SeekingAlpha noted, the investment firm cautioned it’s too early to say whether the viewership boom will necessarily drive subscriber adds.

“Based on country rank and broader data (app, search queries), we believe it is too early to conclude paid net adds could outperform our/Street estimates for [Q2] losses of [2 million subscribers],” wrote analyst Justin Patterson in a note to investors, per SeekingAlpha.

Netflix lost over 600,000 subscribers in the U.S. and Canada in the first quarter and during earnings results said it expects to lose 2 million net subscribers in the second quarter.

Still, despite losses, people tuning into the platform at least once a week in the U.S. increased 2.8% in the first quarter, according to Attest data. And Hub Entertainment Research found Netflix still ranks as a “must-have” entertainment service, with 68% saying it's something their household couldn’t do without.

Netflix is looking to broaden its paid base and monetize non-paying viewing households, with a move to an ad-supported tier possibly as early as the fourth quarter, as well as a crackdown on password sharing. Netflix already tested out charging a fee for additional out-of-home viewers in three Latin America countries.