Stranger Things 4 finally gave Netflix some extraordinarily good news

Stranger Things: Season 4 - Volume 1
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix finally got some good news, courtesy of fan-favorite Stanger Things Season 4.

The fourth outing of the retro scarer, specifically, Stranger Things 4, Volume 1, rustled up a record-breaking 286.79M hours viewed in its first weekend, according to Netflix's own internal measurement systems.

People may be leaving the world's biggest streaming services, but millions clearly hung around to watch Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin) and the rest of the Hawkins gang confront a whole new kind of weird. Netflix on Tuesday characterized it as "the biggest premiere weekend ever for an English language TV show on Netflix."

While the scale of this hit is startling, Stanger Things has been a consistent, out-of-the-gate hit for Netflix. Season 3 pulled in over 40 million households within three days of its 2019 launch. Stranger Things Season 2 notched 15 million viewers in three days. To put the 287M hours watched in perspective, Netflix said in a release that Stanger Things Season 1 netted 38.05M hours viewed.

What accounted for the massive leap in viewership? It might've been the early reviews. Our Tom Power called the first six episodes (the 8-episode season is broken into two parts, with a pair of lengthy Volume 2 episodes arriving in July) "an absorbing, action-packed, and horror-fuelled entry that's bursting with revelations aplenty."

This author found the first episode creepy enough that he decided to hold off watching more until he could ensure viewing occurred in daylight hours.

Not out of the upside-down

While Stranger Things 4, Volume 1's massive numbers are good news for the beleaguered streaming giant, this likely doesn't change its trajectory or the changes it's preparing to make later this year.

The company is still testing a password-sharing surcharge in Chile, Peru, and Costa Rica, though recent reports indicate that might not, at least in Peru, be going all that well.

Netflix is also still considering the ad-supported tier, though it hasn't shared any further details on its plans since its most recent earnings call.

Our sense of all this, though, is that Netflix is content to leave password sharing and its current tiers alone, at least until summer is over or, Stanger Things 4 completes its record-breaking run in July.

Lance Ulanoff
Editor At Large

A 38-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.

Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.