Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige made a bold claim that recent Marvel Studios Disney+ shows are beating out “some of the buzziest shows on competitive services” when it comes to international audiences.
As part of The Walt Disney Company’s Upfront event, which is aimed at advertisers and other partners in New York City, Kevin Feige said, “We’ve been able to introduce exciting new heroes and villains, locations, and storylines into the MCU. And I’m pleased to share that when you compare our Marvel series to some of the buzziest shows on competitive services even our smallest series reach a much larger and more international audience. Often 2 to 3 times the number of viewers.”
Kevin Feige talks about #SecretInvasion at the Disney upfront. https://t.co/Y9eAfSvYz4 pic.twitter.com/bnXXJWJZfw
— Variety (@Variety) May 16, 2023
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It’s unclear where Feige is getting his data metrics from, but FlixPatrol, a site that tracks “VOD charts and streaming ratings worldwide,” notes that no Marvel series would be in the top 10 of streaming series in 2022.
FlixPatrol reveals that a number of Prime Video shows have the most watch points worldwide. The outlet explains they rate shows via a point system based on their position on the various streaming services’ most popular lists.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power acquired the most watch points in 2022 with 120,372. The Boys came in second with 98,294, Reacher in third with 85,924, The Terminal List in fourth with 77,741, The Peripheral in fifth with 67,881. Netflix’s Stranger Things racked up 63,800 watch points for the sixth position. Manifest was in seventh with 53,337. Wheel of Time came in eighth with 51,267. Ninth was HBO’s Euphoria with 46,609. House of the Dragon rounded out the top 10 with 42,883 watch points.
Marvel’s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law had 42,453 points while Moon Knight had 34,949 watch points.
As noted FlixPatrol does not rank the shows based on watch time, but rather on how long the series is on the various streaming services’ most popular lists. It’s easy to figure out that that wouldn’t necessarily correlate to watch time or how many people have watched the show.
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However, Netflix is one of the few streamers that does release watch time data for their 10 most popular shows and movies in English and non-English.
If one looks at the Nielsen numbers, which only track domestic viewership, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law did not actually chart on the domestic chart the week it premiered back in August. It was below Instant Dream Home that brought in 395 million minutes viewed. That means She-Hulk: Attorney at Law brought in less than 395 million minutes.
If one speculates that She-Hulk: Attorney at Law even brought in the same amount of viewership internationally that it did domestically, it pales in comparison to the top 10 most viewed Netflix programs during the same week.
According to Netflix’s data the second season of Manifest racked up 16.27 million hours or 976.2 million minutes viewed. Now granted, Netflix’s model is quite different than Disney’s in that they release all of their episodes at once compared to weekly, but the second season of Manifest had been on the top 10 chart for 8 weeks already, meaning it racked up a ton of watch time in the 8 weeks prior.
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Just looking at Netflix global data appears to call into question Kevin Feige’s claim. It certainly looks like less buzzy Netflix series are topping Marvel Studios shows routinely when it comes to international audiences.
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What’s even more interesting is that Feige just admitted he and Marvel Studios were actually going to be cutting back on Marvel Studios shows on Disney+ after none of their shows failed to crack Nielsen’s Top 15 streaming shows for 2022.
He told Entertainment Weekly, “We want Marvel Studios and the MCU projects to really stand out and stand above. So, people will see that as we get further into Phase 5 and 6. The pace at which we’re putting out the Disney+ shows will change so they can each get a chance to shine.”
When asked if he would be spacing them out or putting out fewer shows per year, he responded, “Both, I think.”
Later in the interview he would reveal, “I think when we are doing about eight projects a year — and again, I said this is going to shift a little bit — they all have to be different. They all have to stand apart and stand alone and be different from one another.”
Regardless of whether or not the shows are doing better than series on competing streaming services, by making it clear they would be cutting back on the number of shows for Disney+, it appears to indicate that Marvel Studios productions might not actually be bringing the return on investment that Disney+ needs to keep making them.
What do you make of Kevin Feige’s claim? Do you believe him?
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