How ‘Cobra Kai’ Stacks up to It’s Netflix Competition

William Zabka and Ralph Macchio Comic-Con

Getty William Zabka and Ralph Macchio speak at the 2019 Comic-Con in San Diego.

A show’s Nielsen rating is the measurement of the size of their audience, which is calculated by Nielsen Media Research. The Nielsen method has been the primary source for audience measurement in television since 1950.

Over the last decade television landscape has drastically changed, and now many people consume their content by streaming it on the internet. In September 2020 Nielsen started to come out with a Top 10 list of the most watched programs on streaming platforms. So far Cobra Kai has performed well on the Top 10 list.

‘Cobra Kai’ Is Treating It’s Opponents With No Mercy

William Zabka Cobra Kai Dojo

YouTubeJohnny Lawrence (William Zabka) smiles while teaching his students at Cobra Kai.

The most recent update to the Nielsen Top 10 rankings revealed that Cobra Kai has taken the top spot in both original series and overall. The rankings, available here, detail the number of minutes streamed from the week of 1/4 – 1/10.

Cobra Kai passed Bridgerton, another Netflix original series, for the top spot by maintaining more viewers from the previous week, The Hollywood Reporter explains. “Bridgerton slipped one spot to second place with 1.67 billion minutes, down about a billion minutes from the previous week. Cobra Kai lost about 500 million minutes of time.”

Cobra Kai ended the week with 2.11 billion minutes streamed. Bridgerton, as The Hollywood Reporter mentioned, ended up with 1.67 billion minutes viewed. Previously, from 12/28 – 1/3, Bridgerton was the most streamed show with 2.65 billion minutes viewed. Cobra Kai was not very far behind, however, coming in with 2.61 billion minutes viewed.

Jon Hurwitz, one of the creators of Cobra Kai, sent out his appreciation on Twitter.

Considering Bridgerton is set in 1813 London it is safe to take his mention of a crossover as a joke. The tweet shows that the people behind the show take notice of the rankings, though, and appreciate all of the support that the show has received.

‘Cobra Kai’s’ Top 10 Competitors


Getty‘The Mandalorian’ Executive producers/writers Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, actors Pedro Pascal, and Gina Carano at the Disney+ Global Press Day

The Nielsen Top 10 for television is broken into two categories, original series and acquired series. Cobra Kai and Bridgerton both fall under the category of original series, but they had more viewers than the top acquired series as well.

According to The Hollywood Reporter the next closest original series was Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, another Netflix original, coming in with 768 million minutes viewed. The next closest show overall, however, was an acquired series, Criminal Minds, with 842 million minutes viewed. Criminal Minds is also available on Netflix.

Right now Netflix dominates the Nielsen Top 10 rankings. They hold nine of the top ten spots in the original series category and all ten spots in the acquired series category. The only show to make the lists that is not on Netflix is Disney’s The Mandalorian, coming in at sixth in original series with 411 million minutes watched.

Some Platforms Say Nielsen Is Not Entirely Accurate

YouTubeJoel Embiid in a Hulu Advertisement

Nielsen is not a perfect depiction of what is going on in the streaming world. The Hollywood Reporter pointed out that “streaming platforms contend Nielsen’s methodology doesn’t capture the full scope of viewing on devices other than TV sets,” they say. “Nielsen also only measures U.S. audiences, not those in other countries.”
Additionally, the Nielsen website says that their ratings only consist of shows on Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix.

Limitations aside, at this time Nielsen is the foremost authority in television ratings, and has been for a number of years. Even if there is not a 100% accurate measurement of viewership, the Nielsen numbers still give an accurate glimpse of viewership trends.

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