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Amazon's 'The Boys' racks up big viewership - or did it?

Matthew McNulty

The shroud of secrecy behind viewership for streaming series is slowly fading away with Amazon Prime Video the latest to have its viewership cast in the light.

Audience numbers have been treated like state military secrets by the likes of Amazon and Netflix. But longtime audience measurement firm, Nielsen, after tackling Netflix, has now added Amazon Prime video to its data collecting. However, as with its Netflix numbers, Nielsen is only looking at connected television in the U.S. utilizing Prime Video. So no phones, tablets, desktops or any other non-television viewing.

Neilsen's first batch of Amazon data was for its critically acclaimed superhero sendup series, "The Boys," which debuted mid-summer.

According to Nielsen, in the first 10 days of its premiere date (July 26-Aug. 4), “The Boys” -- produced by Sony -- reached nearly 8 million viewers for its eight-episode season. The average audience size clocked in at 4.1 million people. Nielsen also said the largest audience segment for the series -- at 39 percent -- was comprised of viewers 35-49 for the 10-day window.

However, the debate over the accuracy of streaming numbers will not go away any time soon, if Netflix's earnings are any indication.

Last week, in its third-quarter earnings report, Netflix said in July for the first month of release of its hit series "Stranger Things," 64 million households watched. However, during the summer, Nielsen said that 26.4 million people watched the new installments of “Stranger Things” over the Independence Day holiday weekend, from July 4 to July 7. Netflix later refuted Nielsen and claimed the number was 40.7 million people — nearly twice as many homes as Nielsen's figures.

Stay tuned.

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