Marvel TV shows aren't convincing new users to sign up to Disney Plus

Marc and Steven scream in unison after seeing Tawaret in Moon Knight episode 4
Moon Knight and company aren't helping Disney Plus' push for new subscribers. (Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney Plus)

Moon Knight and other Marvel TV shows don't appear to be helping Disney Plus in its bid to attract new subscribers.

According to new research compiled by Parrot Analytics, Moon Knight, WandaVision and other Marvel Disney Plus shows are having little impact on the company potentially increasing the size of its subscriber base.

Per the leading entertainment analytics company's findings, each of Marvel's TV offerings has become the most-watched show worldwide within two weeks of their launch. Audience demand for Loki, Hawkeye, and company also outstripped many (if not all) of their competitors, with Moon Knight viewed as being 93.5 times more in-demand than the average television series.

However, while that number – and those of its fellow Marvel productions – are evidently good news for Disney and Marvel Studios, data surrounding each show suggests that the quintet haven't inspired a huge surge in new user signing up to Disney Plus.

A graph showing how audience demand for each Marvel Disney Plus show has followed a similar pattern

Marvel's TV offerings all follow a similar pattern in terms of audience demand. (Image credit: Parrot Analytics)

As the above graph shows, every Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) TV show has embarked on a similar trajectory to their counterparts in the weeks post-launch. Among the five TV series, audience demand was highest for WandaVision (102.1 times higher than a normal show), while Hawkeye posted the lowest figure (68.6 times more in-demand).

These are massive numbers for Marvel's TV offerings. But, according to Parrot Analytics, the data proposes that Moon Knight and company are only servicing the MCU's established audience – i.e. those who have seen every Marvel movie and show to date. As such, it seems that these Marvel shows are helping Disney Plus to retain its core subscriber base, but aren't necessarily aiding a drive to new sign-ups.

Is it possible, then, that the MCU's rapid expansion has had a negative impact on its ability to draw in new fans and subsequently reduce how much it can aid Disney Plus' subscriber growth? Perhaps. At this point, the MCU comprises 27 movies and six shows – a headache-inducing figure that may scare off would-be fans who may baulk at the amount of content they have to consume in order to catch up.

By contrast, there are only 11 mainline Star Wars movies and two live-action TV shows for potential fans of Lucasfilm's juggernaut franchise to watch. Okay, there's the seven season run of animated series The Clone Wars, plus four seasons to take in for Rebels and one season of The Bad Batch, two other animated Star Wars shows. While these are canon, they aren't currently mandatory viewing for new Star Wars fans. Well, that is until the likes of Ahsoka Tano's standalone live-action series arrive on Disney Plus.

It's one of Ahsoka's live-action siblings in The Mandalorian – by far the biggest and most popular Star Wars property of our times – that's been a key driver behind new subscribers to Disney's streaming platform. With Baby Yoda's help, by the time of The Mandalorian's season 1 finale, audience demand for the Star Wars show was 161.5 times greater than the average TV series.

A graph showing the popularity of The Mandalorian compared to The Book of Boba Fett

(Image credit: Parrot Analytics)

As the above chart reveals, The Mandalorian was way more popular than The Book of Boba Fett when the latter's first season aired in late 2021/early 2022. In fact, The Mandalorian's first outing became one of the three most in-demand shows that Parrot Analytics has ever measured from a date standpoint.

Helpful as The Mandalorian was in aiding Disney Plus' early success in terms of subscriber growth, though, Disney's streaming platform was also aided by the curiosity of movie and TV aficionados. 

The Mandalorian arrived alongside Disney Plus when the latter officially launched on November 12, 2019. Given that there were few original films and shows for subscribers to watch in those early days, The Mandalorian will have benefitted from the paucity of other films and TV series. Sure, Disney Plus launched with a number of beloved animated and live-action movies and shows, but it was certainly lacking in original content for pioneering subscribers to stream. The Mandalorian is a great TV show, but its success was certainly aided by the distinct absence of similarly new productions vying for viewers' attentions.

It remains to be seen if Star Wars is viewed as the franchise that really drives subscriber growth for Disney Plus. The Book of Boba Fett has shown that this may not be the case but, with Obi-Wan Kenobi's highly anticipated series arriving on May 27, we'll have a clearer indication of which franchise is truly boosting Disney Plus' subscriber base. If Obi-Wan posts similar numbers to The Mandalorian, it may prove that Star Wars, not Marvel, is the property that Disney can rely on to increase its user base – and wouldn't that be a turn up for the books?

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across. Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.