Ever since Netflix has canceled Luke Cage and Iron Fist there has been an unease towards the other shows. Daredevil just released its third season, within quite a short timespan surprisingly, and two more seasons are currently being produced. The Punisher might see a release early 2019 or maybe even at the end of 2018, as the first season was released on November 18th and Daredevil‘s third season got a release date announcement a month before it went online. The latest season of the protector of Hell’s Kitchen was given high critical praise and is considered to be Netflix’s’s best season yet. Still, it seems that its viewership numbers have dropped by 57%.
Netflix still is quite coy on releasing any of its official numbers but a San Francisco-based analytics company has used panel’s to track numbers regarding the viewership base for the streaming service. They utilize online consumer behaviors, such as Social Media data, to make a rough assumption of a countries’ general viewing behavior. This type of third-party data can give you a good first impression or highlight rough trends but can be easily misinterpreted. They point out that these numbers are still higher than those of both canceled show and a general decline is rather normal in this industry. Most TV shows see considerable drops over the course of their season, some harsher than others.
ScreenRant makes a good point that the waiting period between seasons could have hurt its numbers but Daredevil was still a part of The Defenders. As such, while the show was on pause the character was still present last year before continuing his solo outing. One could easily make a case that a show with a strong second season would build up more suspense after a long hiatus. The best point is the lack of Punisher, which was a major push for Netflix. It was a similar effect that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. enjoyed with the tease of Ghost Rider appearing on the show or how the Frozen storyline on Once Upon A Time skyrocketed its viewership numbers on ABC. Big names pull in a new audience and can help draw in new target audiences. To give another comparison, it is similar to how fighting games use third-party characters, like Nier: Automata‘s 2B’s upcoming appearance in Soul Calibur 6,
The biggest aspect of these numbers also comes from Netflix’s general design. It is a streaming service that relies heavily on subscription numbers. This way the service can offer ongoing content without the need to push advertisements. People can watch all content at any time so viewership numbers for some shows can grow at a later rate. Viewership rates could highlight the importance of a show in Netflix’s selection but the first season of a high-profile production like Marvel’s shows will always have stronger viewership numbers. Moreover, marketing for follow-up seasons isn’t as prominent as the first one, as they rely heavily on the core fanbase of the series.
The worst offender to the show’s numbers is the release window. No one expected for Daredevil to drop within just over a month after Iron Fist. While it was a fantastic surprise for fans, it is rather sudden for a general audience to really build up any hype to watch the series. It has been a general strategy for the last few Marvel shows. Luke Cage‘s release date was revealed about three months which fit in line with the other shows. That window kept getting smaller with Iron Fist being revealed two months in advance and Daredevil with just one month. It is easy to make a theory, but it seems that the shows are getting pushed out at a faster pace.
The recent releases did not show any decline in quality but the release windows have gotten tightened quite a bit. Perhaps the cancellations and these release windows getting narrower a sign of Netflix finishing its contract with Marvel. It would explain why Luke Cage got canceled for a “creative impasse” after already putting a writer’s team together. The third season of Jessica Jones got announced in April, which was quite a few months before the Disney-Fox deal was anywhere near its finalization. As such, Disney’s streaming service was quite a bit off and there was less pressure for these shows to survive. It’s nothing more than a theory but the timing does point to something happening behind-the-scenes.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you think that