Amazon Prime Video’s Most-Watched Original Shows All Have This One Detail in Common

by Leanne Stahulak

Amazon Prime Video recently released streaming data about its most-watched shows, and there’s one key connection between the top-three rated original series.

Unlike other streaming services, Amazon Prime Video doesn’t have a ton of franchises connected to them (like HBO’s connection to Warner Bros. and Disney+ owning Marvel and Star Wars). This limits the amount of Original content Prime can entice fans and subscribers in with. Those who love different franchises can watch new films or TV series about them on these various streamers. But rarely on Amazon.

So, Prime resorted to a different fanbase, per a new report by The Hollywood Reporter. Instead of chasing after popular film or TV franchises, Amazon Prime Video started adapting best-selling novels.

Readers enjoy a love-hate relationship with film and TV adaptations. But so far, Prime has knocked their attempts out of the park. One of their most recent efforts, “Reacher,” was based on Lee Childs’ best-selling crime thriller series. Fans originally watched a film adaptation of the “Jack Reacher” books starring Tom Cruise in 2012, but Prime’s TV series performed far better with fans.

In fact, it boasts the best debut week on Amazon Prime Video in the streamer’s history. Based on Nielsen’s streaming ratings, “Reacher” clocked in 1.84 billion minutes of viewing from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6. And for the next six weeks, fans viewed about 5.76 billion minutes total.

That’s almost one billion more minutes than the second-highest-watched show on Amazon in the last two years. Which also happens to be a book-to-TV adaptation.

Many of Amazon Prime Video’s Top-Watched Shows Were Originally Books

Perhaps it’s fitting that one of the world’s most popular booksellers turned to novels and comic books as source material for their original shows. Aside from “Reacher,” Amazon Prime Video’s next top-watched series was the debut of the world-renowned fantasy series “The Wheel of Time.”

“The Wheel of Time” hoped to bring in not only Robert Jordan fans but fans of popular fantasy series like “Game of Thrones” as well. And so far, the data proves that it was partially successful. Or at least more successful than other Amazon Prime Video debuts in the last two years. It tallied up about 4.9 billion minutes over its first six weeks.

Close behind “The Wheel of Time” was Season 2 of “The Boys,” based on an acclaimed comic book series. For the record, Season 3 was released earlier this month, and Prime does claim its debut has done better than Season 2. But full streaming data is not yet available for “The Boys” Season 3.

Season 2, however, clocked in with 4.8 billion viewing minutes. It came in just ahead of one of the few non-book-related shows in Amazon Prime Video’s catalog. “Hunters,” with 4.58 billion viewing minutes, is a Nazi thriller, per The Hollywood Reporter. After “Hunters,” the rest of Amazon’s top-watched items drop significantly below four billion minutes of viewing in the first six weeks.

More book-to-TV adaptations performed well, like “Bosch” and “Jack Ryan” earlier. But now, Amazon is turning its attention to another huge endeavor: “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.”

This is one of the most expensive original series to ever be produced. So Amazon’s taking a big risk with the prequel series. But Prime’s hoping that the dedicated “Lord of the Rings” fanbase will turn up to see what they’ve produced. And if Prime’s previous book adaptations’ successes are any indication, this could easily be another home run.