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‘The Mandalorian’ Demand Surges in Debut Week But Trails ‘Stranger Things,’ DC’s ‘Titans’

The Mandalorian Disney Star Wars
Courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm

Confirming the pre-launch hype, Disney Plus’ “The Mandalorian” swooped into the No. 3 spot on a ranking of the most in-demand digital originals among U.S. viewers after its debut, according to new data.

For the week of Nov. 10-16, “The Mandalorian” — the first live-action series in the Star Wars universe — notched nearly 40 million “demand expressions,” according to research firm Parrot Analytics. In addition, in its first four days, the show had stronger U.S. demand than four of 2019’s biggest streaming originals: Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy,” “When They See Us” and “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance,” and Amazon Prime Video’s “Good Omens,” per Parrot.

At the same time, “The Mandalorian” registered less than 40% of the demand of Netflix’s supernatural hit “Stranger Things” over the same time period and was behind DC Universe’s live-action “Titans,” which was renewed for season 3 last week (see chart, below), according to the research firm’s data.

Moreover, “The Mandalorian” wasn’t even in the Top 10 overall for Nov. 10-16 across all shows on TV networks and digital services, behind favorites like “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Rick and Morty” and “Game of Thrones,” according to Parrot.

Parrot Analytics expects demand for “The Mandalorian” to continue to grow as Disney Plus releases new episodes on a weekly basis. The first two dropped last week on the service, with the remainder of the eight-episode series releasing each week (with episode 3 set to be available Nov. 22).

To be clear, the “demand expressions” Parrot Analytics measures do not represent actual viewing; rather, they’re a proxy for indicating popularity of given titles. The company aggregates data about specific shows from social media and video streaming platforms, piracy networks, photo-sharing services, blogs and other sources, then boils them down into metrics that purport to show relative consumer demand for different TV shows.

With the rise of streaming, the industry is forced to rely on such indirect third-party estimates in the absence of Nielsen-like ratings for subscription VOD. Players like Netflix and Amazon don’t release regular viewing numbers (and when they do it’s self-reported data to claim they have a hit). Nielsen does claim to track both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video viewing (but not currently Disney Plus); the firm’s measurement for SVOD is limited to connected-TV devices and covers only the U.S.

Disney will fall into the same camp, with no plans to divulge Disney Plus viewership. The day after the service’s launch, the media conglomerate claimed it had signed up over 10 million Disney Plus users to date (although it didn’t indicate how many were from free promotional offers like Verizon’s 12-month free of Disney Plus to unlimited wireless customers). Disney said it won’t release any additional Disney Plus user data beyond its quarterly financial reports.

Top 10 Most In-Demand Digital Original Series in the U.S., Nov. 10-16, 2019

Source: Parrot Analytics

Another data point illustrates high interest in “The Mandalorian”: TV Time, which offers an app for users to track shows and movies they’re watching (or want to watch), said the number of users tracking “Mandalorian” doubled last week, making it the biggest week-over-week gainer among all TV shows.

Per TV Time, “The Mandalorian” was followed by another Disney Plus original series, “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” in terms of increase in viewer tracking week-over-week. Other top gainers were Netflix’s “The Crown” after season 3’s premiere; Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty”; Showtime’s “Shameless”; and Netflix’s “Green Eggs and Ham.”

“The Mandalorian,” created and written by Jon Favreau, is set after the fall of the Empire and before the rise of the First Order. Pedro Pascal stars as the title character, a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic. Dave Filoni (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars”) directed the premiere episode.