Marvel Studios and The Walt Disney Company announced the Disney+ series Ms. Marvel air on the Disney-owned ABC network in August in the lead up to the theatrical release of The Marvels.
A press release shared by TV Series Finale detailed, “Ms. Marvel is beaming to broadcast television! ABC will offer viewers the opportunity to watch all of the hit Disney+ Original series this summer, ahead of Ms. Marvel’s theatrical debut in The Marvels on Nov. 10, with the first three episodes airing on ABC on SATURDAY, AUG. 5, and the final three episodes on SATURDAY, AUG. 12, from 8:00-11:00 p.m. EDT/PDT.”
The Walt Disney Company has attempted this trick before albeit it does not appear to have significantly swayed anyone. The company attempted to drive ABC, Freeform, FX, and Hulu viewers to Disney+ by offering the first two episodes of the Star Wars series Andor on the aforementioned networks.
They released the first two episodes back to back in the on ABC on November 23rd, on FX on November 24th, on Freeform on November 25th, and on Hulu between November 23rd and December 7th.
The press release announcing this stated, “To celebrate the highly anticipated Andor finale on Disney+, and to help kick off the Thanksgiving holiday, The Walt Disney Company will offer viewers a special opportunity to watch the first two episodes of the acclaimed series across its unparalleled distribution platforms including ABC, FX, Freeform and Hulu.”
The company was clearly attempting to try and get buyers to use some of their Black Friday shopping money to purchase a subscription to Disney+ and was using Andor as the bait. The gimmick did not appear to affect viewership as tracked by Nielsen for Andor on Disney+.
They attempted a similar gimmick in the lead-up to the release of the third season of The Mandalorian. They released the show’s first episode on ABC, Freeform, and FX at 8 p.m. on February 24th in an attempt to convert viewers to Disney+.
While it’s unclear how many subscriptions they might have generated through the gimmick, data tracking firm Samba TV reported that The Mandalorian Season 3 premiere had less viewership than The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The company reported that 1.6 million US households watched the season three premiere of The Mandalorian compared to 1.7 million for The Book of Boba Fett in its first five days and 2.14 million for Obi-Wan Kenobi in its first four days.
Not only does it appear that The Walt Disney Company is trying to gin up interest in The Marvels by debuting Ms. Marvel on its network cable channels, but That Park Place investigative reporter Jonas J. Campbell also believes it could be a way for the company to move around some of its poor finances impacting its streaming products.
Campbell told scooper and YouTuber WDW Pro, “Well, right now all of the costs of Ms. Marvel are sitting on the Disney+ books. All of the expense and all of the revenue are on Disney+. When they put something like this on ABC or like they did with Andor on Freeform, and FX, and Hulu, what they get to do is they get to come up with their own number of what they’re going to charge their cable networks and their broadcast networks.”
He continued, “Now, they do have to justify what that number is. If it gets too crazy they’ll end up getting under IRS scrutiny, but in this case they’ll get to say, ‘Oh no, it didn’t cost Disney+ this much because that cost was defrayed by the fact that we put it on ABC, or Hulu, or FX.”
“So they get to reduce the expense on Disney+ in their quest — as they’ve stated — they are going to make Disney+ profitable by September of 2024,” he shared.
What do you make of this gimmick that The Walt Disney Company and Marvel Studios are employing?