‘Stranger Things’ brings a lot of ex-Netflix subscribers back to the service, study says

The third season of “Stranger Things” is proving to be a zeitgeist-defining hit for Netflix and the streaming television era. According to the service, it’s breaking viewership records.

On Monday, Netflix announced that 40.7 million household accounts have been watching the show since its July 4 global launch — more than any other film or series in its first four days. The company also said that 18.2 million had already finished the entire season at that point.

Now analyst firm Cowen & Co. is releasing more data about the show based on its survey of 2,500 U.S. consumers conducted from June 26-July 3. The firm found that about 51% of current Netflix users planned to watch “Stranger Things.” About 5% of consumers who don’t currently subscribe to Netflix said they plan to so they can watch the show and 13% of former Netflix subscribers said they plan to reup with Netflix so they can head back to Hawkins.

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“We view these figures as notably positive given the potential to drive gross sub additions both at the end of 2Q19 and into 3Q19 on the back of arguably NFLX’s highest-profile show,” wrote Cowen & Co. in a research note Tuesday.

The smashing success of “Stranger Things” has to be a welcome distraction for Netflix, which is facing a near-future without another one of its most popular licensed shows. AT&T’s WarnerMedia this week revealed that it’s upcoming streaming service, HBO Max, will be the new exclusive streaming home from “Friends” starting in 2020.

The end of “Friends” on Netflix arrives not long after NBCUniversal officially announced that it is taking back “The Office,” which will be exclusive to the company’s streaming service starting in 2021. According to NBCUniversal, “The Office” is the number one series on SVOD. In 2018, it was streamed for more than 52 billion minutes, and in April 2019, it was viewed nearly twice as much as the next most-viewed program on SVOD.