The first quarter of 2021 has been a pivotal period for the streaming portion of Disney’s business, with the Marvel franchise engine finally firing up on the small screen. According to Parrot Analytics’ data, the share of demand for Disney+ has primarily been driven by the massive amount of audience attention Disney+ Originals attract. In fact, Q1 was a success for them, with the platform holding three of the 10 most in-demand digital originals in the United States.
While Disney+ had a successful first quarter, demand indicators point to the second quarter being an even stronger one for the entertainment giant’s streaming business. Fully half of the 10 most in-demand original series in the second quarter so far are from Disney+ or Hulu.
Meanwhile, the return of “The Handmaid’s Tale” this quarter should give a bump to Hulu's audience demand share. However, the period is not over yet: “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” is still growing in demand and the highly anticipated “Loki” is due to be released in June. The growing dominance of Star Wars and Marvel series should boost Disney+’s appeal for new and existing subscribers alike.
At the same time, the total demand for content originally available on a Disney property was the largest of all corporate demand shares, a race in which Disney has consistently had the lead. The company’s corporate demand share saw a bump at the end of 2020, driven by enormous demand for “The Mandalorian”.
In the US SVOD market, Disney is in an interesting position juggling two major platforms - Hulu and Disney+. The large amount of highly in-demand library/licensed content available on the Hulu platform leads it to have the largest slice of demand for SVOD services in 2021 so far. The group’s majority ownership of Hulu, combined with the market’s appetite for the much newer Disney+ service, means the company is the largest entity in the US SVOD market, based on US audience demand.
Disney+ has been cementing its position in the streaming wars not only by producing hits but by expertly leveraging the power of franchises to boost demand for their broader catalog. In the latest season of “The Mandalorian” it actively created crossover opportunities with other series in the Star Wars universe. This demonstrates that Disney only intends on further strengthening the connections between its shows in the Star Wars universe. Presumably a similar strategic vision is in place for the expanding and already intertwined Marvel universe.