Luke Cage was 46 percent more popular than Iron Fist at the time of its cancellation. That's according to data provided exclusively to Screen Rant by Parrot Analytics, a data science company who measures the world-wide audience demand for TV content.
The cancellation of Iron Fist and Luke Cage, two of the popular Marvel Netflix shows, took fans by surprise. Since then, there have been many reports about just why Netflix chose to pull the plug on these two shows; the streaming giant is very secretive indeed about their stats, and as a result third party analytics have proven to be of significant use in trying to understand the business rationale. One set of data has suggested the shows lost two-thirds of their viewers between their first and second seasons.
A fresh insight has been offered exclusively to Screen Rant by Parrot Analytics. Parrot Analytics is a data science company who measure online demand for different TV shows, assessing everything from global file-sharing and peer-to-peer traffic to social media posts. They believe they offer the most accurate measurement of audience demand for any given TV show, and their methods are even trusted by the Guinness Book of Records. According to Parrot Analytics, at the time of its cancellation Luke Cage's brand was 46 percent more in-demand than Iron Fist's. Interestingly, Luke Cage seems to perform exceptionally well in certain overseas markets; it's the second most in-demand Marvel TV show in France and Germany, for example, behind only Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Still, the US market is probably the most instructive; here's how Luke Cage compared to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Marvel Television's flagship show) and the rest of the Marvel Netflix slate in the US market over the last 12 months.
Although it's been reported viewing figures for the Marvel Netflix shows have been declining, it's clear that these brands do remain strong. Even Iron Fist and The Defenders, viewed as the weakest series, are still in the top 0.1 percent of shows in terms of online demand. That said, it's surely no coincidence that what seem to be the three least in-demand shows in the US - The Defenders, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage - are the ones that have been cancelled. In the case of Iron Fist, it seems likely viewership just wasn't sufficient to meet the costs of production, believed to be around $40 million. Luke Cage, however, appears to have been a little more ambiguous, reflecting the stronger brand. There have been reports that Netflix pushed for a 10-episode season 3, rather than the 13-episode season they'd originally signed up to; this was likely an attempting to cut costs and ensure the series was still value for money for the streaming giant.
The interesting question, though, is whether or not Marvel can shop a third season of Luke Cage elsewhere. According to Parrot Analytics, the show's brand is still very strong - it's still in the top 0.03 percent of TV shows in terms of demand in the United States. Speculation has focused on the possibility that the series could go to the Disney Plus streaming service, but that's unlikely, given that appears to be marketed towards Disney's family-friendly brand. Marvel could potentially sell the series to another network instead, who may be able to generate better viewing figures through stronger promotion and marketing. Luke Cage could even potentially wind up with Hulu; Disney will own a controlling share in that streaming service once the Fox acquisition is complete, and there have been reports the House of Mouse will ferry R-rated and mature content over to it.