The top 10 for Disney+'s December 2022 will come as a surprise to some. Predictably for The Walt Disney Company, children's programming is thriving; however, one popular comic book franchise is notably missing.
It was followed by Ms. Marvel, who earned the top spot in Rotten Tomatoes' Top Comic Book TV Shows of 2022. Third and finally was She-Hulk, which premiered in August 2022, and although it wasn't a unanimous success for all MCU fans, it was hailed as "a fun breath of fresh air" despite some criticism of its humor and character choices.
However, 2022 did signal a scaled-down offering from the MCU. In 2021, the MCU released five live-action TV shows and one animated show on Disney+, but 2022 has not matched these numbers.
A new chart revealed that this drop in quantity led to the MCU falling short in one key area over the holiday season.
MCU Absent From Disney+'s Top 10
Earlier in the month, Disney+'s Top 10 most-watched series of December 2022 was revealed to the public. It saw the long-running animated series The Simpsons top the list, with Star Wars entries like Andor and The Mandalorian thriving on the platform.
However, according to the list published by TheWrap, which utilizes data from Parrot Analytics, there was a noticeable lack of the MCU on the list of most in-demand Disney+ series programming.
Disney+'s service is geared toward a family-friendly audience. While the drama genre is usually the top-performing category on rival services, it only accounts for 5% of titles on Disney+.
However, the action-adventure genre - which Marvel largely falls into - is also a top performer. This genre is only represented by 9% of the Disney+ catalog, but according to the data, it drives 22% of demand on the platform.
Still, despite this, Marvel was surprisingly absent from the charts, with neither Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, or any other Marvel series on the list.
Of course, it's important to note that the definition of demand is employed by the data gathered. Parrot Analytics claims to use a holistic method to quantify the "audience attention economy," to capture what audiences demand empirically.
According to its website, the site uses a variety of data points from how series' are consumed to social media sources like sharing or hashtags and the amount of material written and read about a sequel.
Then, they weigh these data points by how much effort is required to engage with a series in this way:
"The more time and consumer effort required, the more importance is attached to each signal."
Thus, it's not a 1:1 for how often a show was streamed or watched, but a more holistic - and robust - measure of how much a show was engaged with in various ways.
What Does This Mean for Marvel?
It's surprising for Marvel to be absent, given the legions of fans who busy themselves on social media with all sorts of fascinating fan theories and talking points.
It's even starker when considering that some of the programs, like Bluey, are aimed at those too young to use the internet in the same way, or long-running shows like The Simpsons, which, in the eyes of many fans, has long passed its peak of popularity.
Other shows, like The Mandalorian, are also high on the list despite not having released a new season last year. It paints a bleak picture of Marvel and suggests the franchise is still scrambling for its anchor in the streaming world.
However, December 2022 may just have been an outlier for the service, as 2023 is packed full of Marvel content.
Many of these are building off pre-existing properties like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Ironheart) and Wandavision (Agatha: Coven of Chaos), which have been highly successful for the franchise.
All in all, signs point to 2023 being more successful for Marvel Studios, but only time will tell.
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