There’ve been many theories as to why the Netflix/Marvel Studios partnership seems to be falling apart, with the most surprising casualty being Daredevil. My bet is that Disney simply isn’t prepared to let Netflix continue profiting from the IP when they’re about to launch their much-hyped Disney+ streaming service that’ll aim to dominate the streaming video market. However, an alternative theory is that audiences simply weren’t tuning in. That, coupled with their relatively large budgets, left the shows in an untenable position.
That PR line’s now been countered by a story from Deadline though, which claims that Netflix “turned a blind eye to viewer demand” when they cancelled the shows. As Netflix is notoriously cagey about releasing viewing figures for any of its series or movies, the task has fallen to companies on the periphery like Parrot Analytics. The firm touts themselves as analyzing the statistical outputs of streaming platforms, based on an algorithm that works around calculated values of “desire, engagement and viewership.”
Their data suggests that Daredevil was ranked fourth in viewer demand in original programming across digital platforms, behind Narcos, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Stranger Things. In addition, they claim that it finished its final week before the cancellation announcement with 30 million “demand expressions.”
If the show really is this popular, it explains the reports of shock in the writer’s room that the network was canning it, especially after critics and audiences alike seemed to have responded so positively to the excellent third season.
Of course, Marvel Studios have made some rumblings that Daredevil‘s adventures aren’t over yet, but with it being all but certain the show won’t continue on Disney+ and there being no feasible plans for it to continue on another network, it could be a long while before we see the Man Without Fear on our screens again.