ByTom Bacon, writer at
I'm a film-and-TV fan who grew up with a deep love of superhero comics! Follow me on Twitter @TomABacon or on Facebook @tombaconsuperheroes!
Tom Bacon

A month ago, analytics firm Jumpshot gave us some fascinating data showing how Netflix Originals performed in the first 30 days. Now, intriguingly, they've just given Movie Pilot an update on the newest Marvel Netflix series, The Defenders. The triumphant climax of Marvel's first phase of Netflix shows, The Defenders united Charlie Cox's Daredevil, Krysten Ritter's Jessica Jones, Mike Colter's Luke Cage, and Finn Jones's Iron Fist in pitched battle against the Hand.

But how did the series perform?

Disappointing Figures For Netflix

[Source: Jumpshot]
[Source: Jumpshot]

As I discussed back in August, Jumpshot's methodology is fairly unique. They analyze the clickstream data from a consumer panel numbering over 100 million, which comes out to 160 billion individual clicks per month. To pull this data, they looked at the viewing behavior and activity of Netflix users in the US within the first 30 days after each show premiered.

To compare the different shows' performances, Jumpshot created an index by looking at the most viewed Netflix Marvel original series, Daredevil Season 2, and pegged it at 100%. Each subsequent series is a percentage of the viewership that Daredevil Season 2 received; so, for example, Iron Fist scored 28% against this measure.

Unlike TV networks, tends to keep viewing figures quiet. As a result, this kind of approach is probably the closest we can get to evaluating a show's performance.

Disappointing Figures For The Defenders

According to these figures, the first 30 days were fairly disappointing for The Defenders. In fact, Jumpshot recorded the lowest number of views for a Marvel/Netflix show in the first 30 days. What's going on?

You have to understand that for Netflix The Defenders is a bold experiment. Only a core group of fans watch all the Marvel shows, with others attracted by individual series. So, for example, if you like House of Cards, Bloodline, and Breaking Bad, you've got a good chance of being a fan of Daredevil. Edgy coming-of-age shows like 13 Reasons Why and Shameless are the path to Iron Fist. For Netflix, The Defenders is a unique blend of four different shows that allows the streaming service to ask some fascinating questions. Will viewers who've just watched one of the Marvel/Netflix series be drawn to The Defenders, and will they in turn move on to view the other shows?

The first 30 days suggest that this probably isn't happening quite as much as Netflix would have hoped, but that won't necessarily be a problem in the long run. Again, back in August, Netflix revealed to USA Today that viewing figures for the Marvel shows rank like this:

  • Jessica Jones
  • Daredevil
  • Luke Cage
  • Iron Fist

You'll note that this sequence differs dramatically to Jumpshot's order, suggesting certain shows have "legs" and perform better over a longer period. It's too soon to tell whether or not The Defenders will perform better over the long run.

The Experiment Has Still Worked

Regardless of how the show performs over the long run, it's worth noting that Marvel and Netflix's experiment should be seen as a massive success. The Governor's Office of Motion Picture & Television Development in New York recently revealed that these shows have officially become the largest television commitment in the history of New York. What's more, the pace of production just seems to be increasing; there's actually a chance we'll see four Marvel/Netflix shows next year!

For the data-driven Netflix, The Defenders offers a unique and valuable data-point. They've never had anything like this, with different genres of superhero shows crossing over in a beautifully stylized blend. You can bet every individual view is giving Netflix new data to tweak their algorithms, improving the personalized options they offer every subscriber.

Jumpshot's data is fascinating and gives us a sense of just how The Defenders is performing to date. At the same time, though, we have to put that in context, and the team-up series shouldn't be seen as a failure by any measure. It's accomplished exactly what Marvel hoped it would do, bringing their first phase of Netflix shows to a head, while offering Netflix a tremendously valuable data-point.


Have you watched 'The Defenders'?

(Sources: USA Today)


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