The launch of The Wheel of Time for Amazon's Prime Video has quickly become a hit for the streaming service. Starring Rosamund Pike, The Wheel of Time is a live-action adaptation of Robert Jordan's fantasy novels that premiered last week with its first three episodes. Amazon successfully built buzz around the project, leading to anticipation for its release and helping to drive more viewers to Prime Video. Even though it hasn't released specific numbers, Amazon touts The Wheel of Time as its most-watched original series for 2020.
"We can firmly say that Wheel of Time was the most watched series premiere of the year and one of the Top 5 series launches of all time for Prime Video," Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke told Deadline. Salke admitted that Amazon is working to "try to figure out how transparent we are going to be in the future" in regards to making ratings publicly viewable. She added "there were tens and tens of millions of streams" for The Wheel of Time debut in its first three days. The top countries to stream the series were the United States, India, Brazil, Canada, France, and Germany.
Streaming ratings can be a tricky beast, since you have to account for subscribers starting a series or episode and not completing it. However, that wasn't the case for The Wheel of Time as it has some of Amazon's highest completion rates. According to Parrot Analytics, the global pre-release demand for The Wheel of Time was ahead of other fantasy series such as Netflix's The Witcher. It's already looking to have the biggest opening for Amazon behind The Boys Season 2.
Amazon will look to build upon The Wheel of Time's success with other future fantasy series, including adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and the Mass Effect video game franchise from Electronic Arts, with the former already renewed for Season 2 before it's even premiered. "You will see us continuing to invest in fantasy genre of all kinds, we have a genre-focused team on the ground in Studios who work tirelessly with our creative partners on those slates, and you can look forward to more," Salke said.
"As we looked at the challenges that Covid presented with our slate, it was really important that we were creating big cultural moments globally around content," the Amazon Studios head said about navigating producing content during a pandemic. "We went out at the end of 2020 with Borat, and through 2021 increasing that momentum with our slate of originals. I'm so happy that we could get a slate of material underway with Coming to America, Without Remorse, Sylvie's Love, One Night In Miami, Them: Covenant and Underground Railroad which we were able to schedule strategically within Covid to drive a new audience to Prime Video. We made significant improvements in making Black customers all over the world feel like Prime Video was a home for them which I'm exceptionally proud of."
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