Chernobyl 2.Exclusion Zone premiered setting the new height in audience numbers on TV-3 and smashed the internet: for the first time ever Rutube, Russian video streaming service went down, and the VK group’s comments emerged to be blocked. The first two episodes alone were enough to work into this frenzy, the show premiered across Russia on Friday, November, 10 at 8 pm local time.
During the best prime-time hours Chernobyl 2 received the share of 9%, that is twice as big as the channel’s average among the audience aged 14-44 throughout Russia, and 11% in Moscow. In the given time slot TV-3 easily won the biggest audience among people aged 14-24, and showed brilliant results in Moscow for the 14-44 audience, being ahead of the First channel, and second only to TNT. Every 10th viewer chose to watch the show, this is record-breaking numbers for a series premiere on TV-3. Making every new episode an event and attracting audience generally unattached to TV became possible through a more spread out show release, broadcasting an episode weekly.
The two opening episodes were uploaded on the official Internet resources shortly after the TV premiere, and also gained immense popularity, they together had over 4.5 million views. The unprecedented number of viewers resulted in biggest Russian streaming service RuTube going down for some time. RuTube is well designed to manage 1 TByte load per second and around 9 thousand queries per second. The website had never been down before for the exceeded number of visitors. The service speakers also mentioned DoS-attacks on RuTube, which also affected its work. The TV-3’s idea of uploading the premiere content online not only guaranteed the biggest audience possible, but also allowed legal copies of the show appear on thee Internet before the pirate ones, so the users could see it in the highest quality possible.
The overall Chernobyl 2 frenzy also trended in Russia's biggest social network VKontakte. The posts in the series' group were followed by more than 1.3 million users. VK’s automatic day limit for commentaries in groups (50 000) was crossed by 10.30 pm Moscow time, and for the rest of the day commentating was disabled. Again, TV-3’s social network groups had never faced such a problem. The aftershow Chernobyl.Discussion Zone alone received 28 thousand comments, the show was hosted by Ksenia Sobchak and Denis Kosyakov. Within the aftershow VK users could discuss the opening episodes and address their questions to the stars and creators of the series (Konstantin Davydov, Sergey Romanovich, Anvar Khalilulaev, Valeriy Fedorovich, Evgeniy Nikishov, Ilya Kulikov).