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‘Cobra Kai’: YouTube Red’s ‘Karate Kid’ Sequel Outperforms Netflix, Hulu Shows

Does YouTube Red have its first hit series?

Cobra Kai,” a TV offshoot of the “Karate Kid” film franchise, has outperformed all of its streaming competition, according to data provided to Variety by Parrot Analytics for the week of May 6-12, including Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” and “Arrested Development,” as well as Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

It marks the first time Parrot’s global data has seen a YouTube Red show top the competition, and the highest performing show ever to emerge from the two-year-old streaming service, which hasn’t yet gotten the same buzz for its content that its subscriber VOD rivals have achieved.

At its peak on May 7, “Cobra Kai” attracted greater than 54% more demand than “13 Reasons Why”; more than twice the demand for “The Handmaid’s Tale”; and 121% more demand than another Netflix original series, “Lost in Space.”

Looking day by day at the week measured, only once, on May 9, did any series top “Cobra Kai” in demand, with “13 Reasons Why” edging out the “Karate” TV reboot, which YouTube Red recently ordered to a second season.

Parrot Analytics’ demand expressions measure video streaming, social media, photo sharing, blogging and micro-blogging, fan and critic rating platforms, peer-to-peer protocols and downloading-streaming sites. Like many of its rivals, YouTube Red does not share audience data regarding its content.

Peak demand for “Cobra Kai” in May vastly outperformed the average for YouTube Red programming since the platform launched in May 2015. Demand for “Cobra Kai” peaked at more than 51.5 million expressions, while YouTube Red’s other programming has averaged a peak of fewer than 5 millions expressions.

Parrot Analytics Chart 1
CREDIT: Courtesy of Parrot Analytics

The next best performing YouTube Red original, “Bad Internet,” peaked at fewer than 20 million demand expressions.

Parrot Analytics Chart 2
CREDIT: Courtesy of Parrot Analytics

During the week of May 6-12, “13 Reasons Why” peaked at averaged 40.2 million demand expressions compared to 46.9 million for “Cobra Kai.” “Arrested Development” averaged 26.8 million expressions; “The Handmaid’s Tale” averaged 25.1 million expressions.

“Cobra Kai” premiered on YouTube Red on May 2nd. The series stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, continuing their roles from the 1980s films. Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso is pitted against Zabka’s Johnny, who launches his own karate dojo after reluctantly taking a neighbor boy being picked on under his wing. The series hails from writers and executive producers Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg, who also serve as showrunners and directors. James Lassiter and Caleeb Pinkett exec produce. It is produced by Hurwitz & Schlossberg Productions and Overbrook Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television Studios.

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