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Lord of the Rings prequel sets new record

Amazon says its pricey Lord of the Rings prequel series was watched by more than 25 million viewers around the world on its first day, a record debut for a Prime Video series.

The company released the first two episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which was filmed in New Zealand, on its streaming service in more than 240 countries and territories on Friday.

Amazon did not say whether the viewers it counted had watched all or part of the first and second episodes.

Future Rings of Power instalments will be launched weekly until the October 14 season finale.

The series takes place in JRR Tolkien’s fictional Middle-earth at a time known as the Second Age, a period 4000 years before the events in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit novels and films.

Amazon plans to let the full story unfold in 50 hours over five seasons.

The online retailer spent more than $US465 million ($A683 million) producing the show’s first season, making it among the most expensive TV series ever produced and the most ambitious since Amazon jumped into original programming in 2013.

The company has received acclaim for shows such as Transparent and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, but viewership for those series has not been disclosed.

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