Last month, The Defenders finally landed on Netflix after years of Marvel fans counting down the days until the likes of Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage would team-up for the first time. It was basically the TV equivalent of The Avengers and surely both Marvel and the streaming service must have assumed they had a massive hit on their hands. Shockingly, though, that doesn’t appear to have been the case at all. As reported by Variety, it’s now come to light that The Defenders is actually the least-viewed Marvel/Netflix series of the lot.
A study by Jumpshot, a marketing and analytics firm, concluded that Daredevil season 2 was the most watched of the shows and so judged its sister series against it to gauge their success. While Iron Fist, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones performed about equally – receiving 28%, 27% and 26% of Daredevil‘s viewership, respectively – The Defenders did far worse. Just 17% of the Daredevil viewership tuned in for the team-up show over a 30-day period. On top of that, The Defenders also had the most damning week-by-week drop-off, with it declining 67%, 48% and 41% over that same period.
Obviously, this is only looking at the first month of the show’s release, so it doesn’t form a complete picture. Still, this study undoubtedly proves that The Defenders did something wrong to a) not entice enough viewers in the first place and b) fail to create more interest as time went on.
So, what’s to blame? Might it be the marketing campaign for the series? After all, you could say that it was fairly lacklustre compared to how big Marvel and Netflix could have made it. Alternatively, was it the perceived dip in quality in the run-up to The Defenders? For instance, Iron Fist was seen by many to be a massive disappointment. Then again, it also could have been the mixed reception that The Defenders itself received. Really, it’s hard to say.
Whatever the reason, it’s clear that Marvel and Netflix need to rethink their strategies across the board to get people just as excited as they used to be for these series back when Daredevil first aired in 2015. The next show on the production line, The Punisher, arrives later this year, and while all the signs are positive so far, we’ll just have to wait and see if it receives a better fate than The Defenders.