Following the series premiere of Marvel’s Loki on Disney+, Disney touted the show’s success as the most-watched debut episode the platform has ever seen. That sounds mighty impressive the first time it hits your ear. But unfortunately, the all mighty Mouse House declined to elucidate any further. The company did not provide any viewership data to back up that claim nor give a picture of how many viewers the show attracted.
Though Disney may have surprised by releasing Black Widow‘s $60 million Disney+ Premier Access opening weekend figure, transparency is still sorely lacking in the streaming industry. So ahead of the Loki‘s season finale Wednesday, we’re compiling a handful of third-party metrics to attempt to create a composite of the show’s overall popularity.
Note: No third-party metric is perfect. Each possesses both benefits and drawbacks for our purposes. The hope is to purvey a handful of datasets to see if a consistent trend emerges.
Nielsen tracks U.S. SVOD viewership on a four-week delayed schedule. According to its data, the 50-minute Loki premiere episode was the fifth most-watched SVOD program in the week of June 7-June 13 (Loki premiered June 9) and the third most-watched SVOD original overall in that span with 731 million minutes of viewership.
How does this compare to WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier? Loki holds the advantage of being the first Disney+ Marvel series released on a Wednesday as opposed to a Friday, giving it more breathing room in Nielsen’s weekly rankings.
WandaVision premiered Friday, Jan. 15 with two episodes totaling 67 minutes. Combined, it generated 434 million minutes watched during the week of Jan. 11-Jan. 17. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered March 19 with one 49 minute episode and garnered 495 million minutes watched in the week of March 15-March 21.
Both shows added viewership over the course of their runs, barring a mid-season dip, particularly in the final two weeks of release. As we receive more Loki data from Nielsen, we’ll know if the series follows the same pattern.
Parrot Analytics sifts through social media, fan ratings, and piracy data to represent audience demand, which reflects the desire and engagement expressed for a title within a market. Loki (29.59x more demand than the average title) was the sixth-most in-demand SVOD series in the month of June. This surprisingly sat one spot behind WandaVision and three spots ahead of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, per Parrot data provided to Observer.
Loki appears to be following a similar path as WandaVision (33.65x in January) as both series were available for roughly two-plus week in their debut month yet shot up to the sixth most in-demand title for that span. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was the most in-demand digital original in April after premiering in late March. Each show has seemingly needed at least a few weeks to build its audience, which has come rapidly.
Five of the top 10 series in June were from Disney+. This could be hard to maintain with Falcon and the Winter Soldier looking like it will fall out of the top 10. But, a boost in demand from Black Widow is likely as big events such as this tend to raise demand for other shows in the same franchise. It’s been a consistent pattern for Star Wars across The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian.
Reelgood is a streaming guide that tracks every TV show and movie available online. The service boasts upwards of 2 million U.S. users. According to data provided to Observer, Loki enjoyed the biggest “opening weekend” for any digital TV series in Q2 of 2021 at the time of its release.
Loki’s opening weekend shares of streaming and engagement via Reelgood also boxed out WandaVision’s 9.3% back in January as well as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s 6% shares in March. It’s worth noting for every one of these datasets, however, that the increasing number of Disney+ subscribers likely boosts third-party metrics due to a larger audience size.
Samba TV measures U.S. household viewership, though it only covers 28 million domestic devices on an opt-in smart TV basis. According to Samba TV’s data, via The Streamable, Loki “started out with numbers greater [890,000] than previous Marvel Studios outings WandaVision (759,000 first-day viewers) and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (655,000 day-one viewers), but seems to have quickly lost steam.”
1.6 million U.S. households watched WandaVision on Disney+ on Friday, Jan. 15, through Monday, Jan. 18, according to data from Samba TV provided to Observer. 1.1 million households watched both of the two episodes released. 1.7 million households tuned into The Flacon and the Winter Soldier over its premiere weekend, according to Samba.
The data firm later reported that Loki day-of viewership has declined by more than 100,000 viewers between the first and third episodes (727,000 day-one viewers). That’s an 18% decline from the first episode and a total decline of 163,000 households.
Google Trends measures Google search interest, which can reflect demand, awareness, and buzz for a given title. It is not a measure of viewership. Mystery-driven series which court fan theorization tend to garner more search traffic than straightforward shows, which may help to explain why WandaVision and Loki rank better than The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Loki has yet to match WandaVision‘s peak, but the upcoming finale could provide one final boost. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has previously teased that Loki will leave the greatest footprint on the MCU of any Disney+ show thus far.
“It’s tremendously important. It perhaps will have more impact on the MCU than any of the shows thus far,” he told Empire. “What everybody thought about WandaVision, and was sort of true, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which was sort of true, is even more sort of true for Loki.”