The Marvel Television brand is a lot stronger than fans might believe, according to data provided exclusively to Screen Rant by Parrot Analytics, a data science company that measures world-wide audience demand for TV content.
There's a tendency among Marvel fans to dismiss the TV shows as being essentially 'second-tier.' That's because the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn't really live up to its promise that everything is connected; in reality, the movies and various TV series often seem fairly distanced from one another. That in itself is a result of the often-fraught relationship between Marvel Studios and Marvel Television. In 2015, behind-the-scenes drama between key figures at Marvel forced Disney to restructure Marvel Entertainment, pulling the film studio out as a separate Disney subsidiary. Ever since then, the connections between the films and TV shows have been loose at best - a fact that's been somewhat frustrating for fans who want to see more cross-pollination.
The Marvel movies have proved to be a tremendous success, with this year's Avengers: Infinity War pushing the MCU past $15 billion in the global box office. But just how successful is the Marvel Television brand? Until now, it's been difficult to measure.
- This Page: Agents of SHIELD is Still Marvel TV's Flagship Show
- Page 2: Marvel Netflix, Runaways and Cloak & Dagger
The Marvel Television Brand Is Very Strong
Screen Rant has been liaising with Parrot Analytics, a data science company who measure demand for different TV series and even work with the Guinness Book of Records to identify the most "in demand" shows. They measure how viewers interact with a brand online, assessing everything from global file-sharing and peer-to-peer traffic to social media activity. As such, Parrot believe they are able to provide the most accurate measure of audience demand in this digital age.
The above graph shows where the main Marvel shows - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the various Netflix series - sit in relation to the average TV show in the United States market. Notice that a large number of these shows sit within the top 0.03 percent of TV series. Even the weakest, The Defenders, is still in the top 0.1 percent. Parrot Analytics is clearly identifying a tremendously strong demand for all these shows online, indicating the sheer strength of the Marvel Television brand.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the Flagship Marvel Show
Parrot's data illustrates the dominance of ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which has the strongest individual brand of them all. Marvel figures have consistently described S.H.I.E.L.D. as their "flagship" show, but until now it's been assumed that simply meant this series came first - it launched in 2013, and was the first Marvel Television show to be set in the MCU. Parrot Analytics' data suggests that demand for S.H.I.E.L.D. is high - in fact, according to Parrot demand for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is over 21 times that of the average title. To give a sense of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s popularity, in the US shows with similar demand include Better Call Saul, Criminal Minds, and Vikings; demand for S.H.I.E.L.D. is higher than the likes of The Originals, Supergirl, Arrow, and Fear The Walking Dead.
This is a tremendous accomplishment, and it fits well with reports that, while viewing figures for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have never been through the roof, the series has a committed fanbase and performs well on DVR. It's all the more impressive given that ABC moved season 5 to a Friday night timeslot, which was viewed as something of a "kiss of death" for the show. Instead, it seems S.H.I.E.L.D.'s brand has remained strong. It's no wonder ABC has renewed it for an (abbreviated) sixth season, expected to air in summer 2019 after the release of Avengers 4.
Even more remarkably, Parrot measure similar levels of interest worldwide; according to their data, the S.H.I.E.L.D. brand is particularly strong in Canada and across Europe.