Data: “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” Bests All Netflix, Amazon TV Series in April

Yinchen Niu/VIP

There wasn’t any original series Netflix or other leading streaming service launched in April that could match the audience levels on Disney+ for “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” even though it debuted back on March 19

That’s according to connected-TV and TV analytics provider TVision, which provided data exclusively to Variety Intelligence Platform showing that “FAWS” was the most viewed series of April 2021 across measured platforms. Disney announced “FAWS” was Disney+’s biggest-ever series premiere in late March. 

“FAWS” was viewed by TVision panel members nearly 40 times as much as the average TV series the analytics firm measured in April. That suggests the new Marvel series last month grabbed a bigger audience than anticipated April-debuting Netflix and Amazon titles including “Dad Stop Embarrassing Me” and “Them,” respectively. 

TVision measures viewing across all major U.S. SVODs and AVODs. The analytics company tracks viewing of nearly 25,000 titles among 5,000 households (14,000 individuals) across the U.S. on connected TVs.  

The analytics firm’s numbers suggest “FAWS” proved to have meaningful staying power after a strong late March debut. 

And the April viewership of “FAWS,” which marks the second Marvel Cinematic Universe Disney+ series following “WandaVision,” provides another hint at the benefit video streamers can reap from adhering to a weekly release schedule over a binge release. 

The first season of “FAWS” only contained six episodes (albeit at nearly an hour each) and debuted episodes every Friday from March 19 to April 23. Nielsen has already reported “FAWS” was among the top two most viewed streaming originals it measured for the weeks of March 15, 22 and 29. 

And TVision’s ranking suggests it could continue to crack that Nielsen ranking for much of April. This implies “FAWS” could end up enjoying more coverage for reaching Nielsen’s SVOD rankings than it otherwise would have had it all been released at once in March or April. 

And given the monthlong lag in Nielsen’s SVOD ranking reporting, this added coverage could help decrease the chances that a title like “FAWS” gets forgotten in May as new anticipated streaming projects from Disney+ competitors are released, like Netflix’s “Halston” (from Ryan Murphy) and Amazon’s “The Underground Railroad” (from Barry Jenkins). 

The hype around “FAWS” can partly be attributed to how it takes place following the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” which until recently held the record for highest-grossing movie of all time. 

But part of the show’s appeal is also due to its social commentary. Variety senior entertainment writer Adam B. Vary in March wrote about “Why ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Is So Pointed About Race, Nationalism and the World Today.” 

Another title that apparently generated hype in April 2021 was the Netflix docuseries “This Is a Robbery,” which nabbed second place in TVision’s April streaming TV rankings over other longer scripted titles, including“The Serpent” and “Them.” 

“This Is a Robbery” hints at the prominence of unscripted true crime on Netflix, which last month reached more TVision panel members with “Murder Among the Mormons” than any other TV series. 

While Netflix has had unscripted true-crime hits such as 2020’s “Tiger King” and February’s “Cecil Hotel,” it’s usually scripted fare we hear about breaking big records in the streamer’s quarterly earnings stat disclosures (though that’s likely also partly a reflection of content pipeline rather than just viewer preferences). 

But it’s possible we start to see more Netflix true-crime series generate headlines while production of big scripted Netflix shows get back on track. 

Netflix during its Q1 earnings call noted it has returned to producing content in virtually every major market and sees the 2021 slate being stronger in H2 of the year. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos has noted marquee titles such as “The Witcher,” “You” and “Red Notice” as debuting or returning in the second half of the year.