By Chris Katje

(L-R) Gwendoline Christie, Jenna Ortega, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Christina Ricci attend the world premiere of Netflix’s “Wednesday” at Hollywood Legion Theater on November 16, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.While Netflix has seen hit shows come and go, either with the show coming to a conclusion or the show being canceled. MICHAEL TULLBERG/BENZINGA

The streaming wars continue to heat up with many players battling for subscribers and revenue. Leader Netflix has dominated the game for years with original and acquired content.

While Netflix has seen hit shows come and go, either with the show coming to a conclusion or the show being canceled, one of its biggest hits could now be facing an even bigger challenge.

Netflix has a new hit with “Wednesday,” a take on The Addams Family character. The show broke records previously set by “Stranger Things” on the streaming platform and trails only “Squid Game” for the one-week record in viewership.

“Wednesday” has dominated the Netflix viewership rankings, hitting 341.2 million hours watched in its first week, breaking a record set by the fourth season of “Stranger Things.”

The show passed “Dahmer” to be the second most-viewed English language series over the course of 28 days, trailing only the fourth season of “Stranger Things.”

Here is a look at viewership for “Wednesday” over its first six weeks, with a number one ranking on Netflix for each week.

  • 11/21 to 11/27: 341.2 million hours
  • 11/28 to 12/4: 411.3 million hours
  • 12/5 to 12/11: 269.7 million hours
  • 12/12 to 12/18: 174.0 million hours
  • 12/19 to 12/25: 118.5 million hours
  • 12/26 to 1/1: 104.0 million hours

Even in its sixth week, the show continues to rank first on Netflix and is in the top 10 in 93 countries, including a number one ranking in the U.S. In its first week, “Wednesday” was number one in 83 countries, tying a “Stranger Things” record.

With the success of the show comes fans begging for more content, which could be good news and bad news for Netflix.

Netflix has yet to greenlight or announce a second season of “Wednesday” and it could be for good reason, as reported by The Independent. 

“Wednesday” is produced by MGM Television, a brand of MGM, which owns the intellectual property rights of The Addams Family franchise. 

The key here is that MGM is now owned by Amazon after the company completed an $8.5 billion acquisition in March 2022.

Filming for “Wednesday” took place between September 2021 and March 2022 before the deal was completed.

In this photo illustration, the logo of Amazon Prime Video is seen displayed on a mobile phone screen. Amazon previously said it wouldn’t make all MGM content exclusive on Prime Video, but in the case of this successful show. SOPA IMAGES/BENZINGA

Amazon is the owner of Prime Video, one of the biggest competitors to Netflix in the streaming space.

Without a renewal in place, there could be several options on the table. Netflix could be forced to pay up to keep the franchise away from Prime Video. Another option could be that Amazon decides to take the successful series and bring it to its own streaming platform, blocking Netflix.

Amazon previously said it wouldn’t make all MGM content exclusive on Prime Video, but in the case of this successful show, it could be one of the ultimate battles if Amazon decides to show the strength of its acquisition.

One source told IndieWire that a deal had been reached between Netflix and MGM for “Wednesday” before the Amazon deal was closed. That remains to be seen and with Netflix not announcing a second season yet, could still be something for investors and fans of the show to consider.

Netflix previously estimates that 150 million households had watched “Wednesday,” which was more than half of all subscribers. Based on the longer run time of episodes for “Stranger Things,” it’s possible that more people have tuned into “Wednesday” than the record-setting “Stranger Things.”

Netflix ended the third quarter with 223.1 million subscribers after posting a gain of 2.41 million in the quarter. The streaming giant posted its first subscriber loss in over 10 years earlier in 2022.

With the streaming market continuing to heat up along with the launch of an ad-supported plan by Netflix, investors will likely judge Netflix on gaining subscribers each quarter and not want to stick around if the company posts another loss.

“[Amazon], truthfully, is in business with everybody and is expected to continue to do that in multiple dimensions,” a source told Deadline on December 16.

Netflix has more “Stranger Things” content coming, but the original franchise will come to an end with the upcoming fifth season. Netflix also locked in its record-breaking “Squid Game” series with an upcoming second season and additional content around the potential franchise.

Losing “Wednesday” could be a big blow for Netflix as it tries to dominate and stay on top in the streaming space. The loss could also be seen as a potential major turning point for Amazon, which has seen several hits but trails Netflix and others in many metrics.

Netflix shares are up 4% to $306.76 on Wednesday versus a 52-week range of $162.71 to $592.84.


Produced in association with Benzinga.

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