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Where is the Witcher audience? Netflix says viewership is down compared to previous seasons

While still #1 on Netflix's watch list this week, the latest season of the fantasy series underperformed compared to Season Two.

Henry Cavill in The Witcher (2019)
Image credit: Netflix

The Witcher is back. Er, half-back, at least. The first five episodes of The Witcher season three hit Netflix on June 29, with another three episodes on their way in July. But despite plenty of social media buzz and a dedicated fanbase, the latest excersion to the Continent brought viewers in at a lower level than the previous season.

According to Netflix's own data, The Witcher season three has earned 73 million hours of watch time in its first four days of being on the streaming platform, that is, June 29-July 2. Don't get us wrong, it's sitting comfortably at #1 for that time period, beating Black Mirror: Season Six by some 45 million hours. But a quick look back at the numbers from Season Two paints a less positive picture.

The Witcher Season Two hit Netflix on December 17, 2021, and fans came out in full force to binge it. Over the show's debut weekend, Variety reports that a mind-blowing 142.43 million hours were spent watching the return of Netflix's fantasy hit, placing it easily at the #1 spot at the time. In fact, Witcher craze was in such swing that the first season of the show wound up in the #2 spot, with 49.18 million hours of screen time that weekend.

Season Three's hours are at roughly 48% of Season Two's. And though the newest offering has brought Season One back up to the Top Ten again, it sits at the bottom, with 17.2 million viewing hours.

Now, to be enitrely fair, part of this dip in viewership must be attributed to the fact that, well, there's less to view. Only half of Season Three is actually streaming on Netflix right now, with a total runtime of 4 hours, 49 minutes. Compare that to Season Two, which dropped in full, with a runtime of just a little under eight hours.

And despite the fact that these numbers are looking worse if you've only been tracking with the Henry Cavill-starring main series, Season Three is actually an uptick in viewership compared to the last entry into the franchise: The Witcher: Blood Origin. The spinoff/prequel garnered only 15.9 million hours of views in its first week, according to Netflix's Top Ten site.

With their ups and downs and seeming unpredictability, The Witcher viewership numbers are something of a metaphor for the show itself. From a controversial recasting to a departure from the source material to a new and perhaps misguided ad campaign, the show is on a road as twisty and fraught as any of Geralt's. And though we don't know what's in store for Season Four and beyond, you can bet your coin Popverse will be there to tell you about it.

The first five episodes of The Witcher Season Three are streaming now, with another three hitting Netflix on July 27.

Want to get into The Witcher but don't know how? Popverse has you covered with a guide to watching the hit sword and sorcery show in both chronological and release order.

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About the Author
Grant DeArmitt avatar

Grant DeArmitt

Contributing writer

Grant DeArmitt (he/him) likes horror, comics, and the unholy pairing of the two. He has written for Nightmare on Film Street and Newsarama, despite their better judgement. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, Kelsey, and corgi, Legs.

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