Disney+ is struggling to match the success of The Mandalorian. By any measure, The Mandalorian was a massive hit for Disney. The first episode released on the launch day of the new Disney+ streaming service, and the world immediately fell in love with Baby Yoda.
Although The Witcher was the most popular series worldwide in December 2019, Disney+ has currently only released in a handful of territories, so the comparison isn’t really appropriate. Looking purely at the United States market, however, The Mandalorian came out in the lead. According to third party analytics, it was officially the most in-demand streaming show in the US in December 2019. Peak demand was 7.3 percent higher than that of The Witcher, its only real competitor in this period. But the challenge facing Disney+ is simple; what comes next?
Any streaming service is really dependent on the success of its digital originals, content that viewers can’t watch anywhere else. It’s not enough for Disney+ to have just the one breakout hit; it needs to have a wealth of content performing just as well. According to Parrot Analytics, a data analytics firm who measure online demand for TV shows, none of the other Disney+ originals are quite hitting the mark. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series was the best, with 19.23x more demand than the average TV show, but that didn’t even land it near the top 100 series by US audience demand last month.
Disney+ is centered upon five brands; Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. At this stage, though, it looks as though only the Star Wars brand is capturing the imagination. Parrot note that they expect the new and final season of The Clone Wars to be another hit, and The Mandalorian season 2 is dropping as soon as fall 2020. But there needs to be more to Disney+ than just Lucasfilm, as proven by anecdotal evidence people are canceling Disney+ now The Mandalorian is over. Indeed, that may well explain why Marvel Studios appear to be accelerating the production and release schedule of their various Disney+ TV shows; Disney realize they need to have more strings to their bow. Unfortunately, though, it will still be around 9 months before the Marvel content is ready for release.
Of course, there’s a sense in which this was always going to be an issue for such a new streaming service; it will take time for Disney+ to build up a library catalog of originals that can compete with the likes of Netflix and Prime Video. In Disney’s advantage, however, is the release model they’re following. Rivals tend to drop a whole season at once, whereas Disney is smartly following the traditional episodic format. As a result, demand for a series grows over time, peaking just after the season finale. In contrast, demand for the likes of Stranger Things and even The Witcher tends to peak shortly after the whole season has dropped, and often declines at quite a remarkable rate. Disney+ will hopefully find this to be a more sustainable model – when the content starts rolling out a little more consistently.
More: The Mandalorian Breaks One Of George Lucas’ Original Star Wars Rules