The Rings of Power Viewership Numbers Proves Audience Ratings are Useless


The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power boasted huge debut viewership numbers, despite being review bombed. While critic reviews sometimes impact the success of a movie or show, audience reviews are regularly weaponized, proving just how broken audience reviews are.

After garnering mostly positive reviews from critics, The Rings of Power saw a massive influx of negative audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and other platforms. To combat the issue, Amazon even suspended its own audience review system, holding back reviews from the premiere episodes to ensure only credible reviews get posted. Review bombing is a big topic recently thanks to both The Rings of Power and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, although both shows are performing just fine when it comes to actual viewership.

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Related: How Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Movies Rotten Tomatoes Scores Compare

Despite the review bombing and backlash from a small audience segment, the show still posted record-breaking viewership numbers, reportedly seeing 25 million viewers in the first 24 hours. According to Amazon, this is the biggest premiere for any other show on Amazon Prime Video. Comparatively, HBO is boasting 25 million viewers for the Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, over the course of a week.

The Rings of Power Saw Huge Viewership Despite Review Bomb

When it comes to audience review data, it’s easy to submit a bad review without even watching the show, so the significance of a negative review, or even thousands of negative reviews, doesn’t really indicate anything about the quality of a show. While viewership also doesn’t inherently represent quality, it is as clear an indicator as possible of audience investment, since sitting down and watching the show is the definition of an audience. Conceptually, the desire to have a review system that allows viewers to rate a movie or show could be valuable, but in cases like The Rings of Power that’s not how it plays out, yet despite the flood of negative reviews the show is still performing phenomenally well.

There are certainly ways to improve user rating systems, although attempts to add credibility to user review systems could also make them more of a target for bad faith actors. Long before Rotten Tomatoes and other internet review aggregators existed, movie and TV performance was dictated by organic word of mouth, box office performance, and TV ratings, and things haven’t changed that much. While audience reviews might be a part of the conversation as a form of social proof, word of mouth and viewership performance are still some of the biggest factors for content success, and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power proves that by blazing through an attempted review bombing to post massive premiere viewership numbers.

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