What packs a bigger punch? DC’s lineup on the CW or Marvel’s domination of Netflix? We’ll tell you.
Netflix (and streaming services in general) have completely changed and revolutionized how we watch television. It used to be that if you missed an episode or a season of a show, there was no hope of ever catching up. Sometime later, things changed and yes, you could catch up, if you bought all the VHS tapes or DVD’s, which usually came in at the cost of $50 a season. Now we’re watching full seasons in the matter of a couple days, an entire 7-8 season drama in the matter of a few weeks. Kids are suddenly watching and quoting TV shows their parents and grandparents watched, just because they came up on their queue. For instance, a few weeks ago I watched the full first season of MacGyver, which was off the air by the time I was 1 year old, JUST BECAUSE I COULD.
Suffice it to say, Marvel has completely capitalized on Netflix & the streaming culture. When Daredevil first premiered back in April of 2015, I did not know what to expect. I knew I personally would probably enjoy it simply because it’s Marvel and they rarely disappoint me. But would it accomplish its goal of establishing another character and story line that has a large enough impact to draw an audience without having to release a whole other movie?
I did not need to worry.
Season one of Daredevil boasts approximately 940,000 viewers watching at least one episode on the first day of its availability, with 4.4 million viewers watching at least one episode within its first 11 days. Season two of Daredevil premiered in March of 2016, with 3.2 million viewers watching at least one episode within its first weekend of streaming. Seems like everyone forgot about the 2003 film and were willing to let Marvel redeem itself.
By contrast, while they still somehow manage to stay at the top of their individual network ratings, ALL of the DC shows on network TV (mainly the CW) have dropped in viewership season by season. Put them on a larger scale of all networks and not just their own, Arrow comes in at #100 and the rest don’t even make that list (as of the 2015-2016 season). Incidentally, the Marvel TV shows have not done extremely well so far either. Agent Carter was gone after a season, and though Agents of Shield is holding on, the viewership is dropping.
It’s hard to do an exact comparison since regular television pulls its ratings and information from Nielsen and the like, while Netflix does not feel the need to release this information. They do not carry ads and so long as people are paying, they don’t really need to care what they’re watching. Symphony Advanced Media takes it upon itself to analyze viewer trends on Netflix and it is thought to be as accurate as possible for tracking streaming trends.
Piggybacking on the success of Daredevil, season one of Jessica Jones premiered on Netflix in November of 2015 to 4.8 million viewers in its first 35 day viewing cycle. Season one of Luke Cage garnered 3.52 million viewers within its first 5 days. Iron Fist, set to premiere on March 17th of this year, is anticipated to be on par as well.
To put this into perspective, all three of Marvel’s Netflix shows so far are in the top 10 most watched Netflix original shows of all time: Jessica Jones at # 8, Luke Cage at #5, and Daredevil at #3. Of course, one must ask, how well would these shows do on network television? Well, we can ask all we want, but it’s safe to say that Marvel is quite happy right where it is and will most likely stick to Netflix where they know they can be successful.
So why is Netflix working so well for Marvel, to the point where it’s essentially making up for its mediocre performance on network TV?
Netflix culture is an incredible tool. There is so much power in being able to put out an entire season of a show all at once, and then just sit back and bask in the glory of it. It’s safe to say that due to the easy accessibility and the need for people to immediately fill the “show void” in their life when they finish binging something, more and more people are tuning into superhero and “nerdy” shows on Netflix simply because it’s there. And because the shows are generally very well written and addicting and there is always another episode to watch, it’s very easy for viewers to get sucked in. On the contrary, having a week gap between new episodes on network TV leaves a lot of room for people to forget about a show or just simply fall so far behind, they don’t bother catching up.
Suffice it to say, while DC may have the upper hand on television, Marvel has totally capitalized on Netflix and the power of instant entertainment. I am very excited to see what they have in store for us subscribers in the future.
Maggie Wirth is one of The Geekiverse’s newest awesome writers. Keep it locked to The Geekiverse for her first Marvel review, season one of Iron Fist.
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