Another week, another update for the Nielsen Streaming Charts. They added episode 8 of The Mandalorian season 3, the finale. So how did it do and how does it compare to the previous season? And how does The Mandalorian, how do all the Star Wars series, compare to the Marvel shows? I added some charts to visualize all the numbers so you can better see how season 3 and 2 compare when it comes to viewership and how the various Star Wars and Marvel season finales compare! Click through for more!
So how did the season 3 finale do? Pretty well!
The Mandalorian season 3, episode 8, 38:56 minutes, 1.012 million viewing minutes = 25.99 million “people”
The Mandalorian season 2, episode 8, 44:04 minutes, 1.336 million viewing minutes = 30.32 million “people”
Finale viewership for season 3 is down by 14.3%. But The Mandalorian remains the most popular series on Disney+ with these numbers. Still, the loss of viewers should at least be of some concern.
Also, the numbers for the season 2 finale are rather low because the episode was released on December 18th, i.e. just as the Christmas season pre-occupied people with other things. In fact: viewership for the season 2 finale was still more than 1 billion viewing minutes even one week after release. Which is why I will take a look at the charts next week to, to see how season 2 will compare to season 3 then. Or if it’s even still on the charts. The season 2 finale still had substantial viewership even four weeks after release actually and made the top 10 original series charts. This has to be taken into account here when we look at the “only” 30 million “people” tuning in for the Luke Skywalker finale.
Now that Nielsen have added the full season, what can we say about season 3 and season 2?
Here are some basic numbers:
Season 2 total length: 5h18min
Season 3 total length: 5h39min
Season 3 was actually 21 minutes longer.
Season 2 total viewing minutes: 8,381,000,000
Season 3 total viewing minutes: 7,568,000,000
When it comes to total viewing minutes (not including the numbers reported after the finale, things will certainly still change here once we know how season 3 will do after the finale) season 3 is down by almost 10%. This does not account for total runtime.
Season 2 average number of “people”: 26.32 million
Season 3 average number of “people”: 22.30 million
If we account for episode length (with all the usual caveats, i.e. this assumes all people only watched the most recent episode, and all of it, including the credits, so this is a theoretical number and not the true number of people, but still a good gauge) then season 3 lost 4 million viewers, a reduction of 15.3%. Not a catastrophic loss of viewers, but still substantial. And you always have to remember that Disney+ has about 10 million more subscribers in the US in 2023 than in late 2020. But those new subscribers did not positively affect the ratings, once more indicating that all the Star Wars fans signed up early. And all the Marvel fans probably too, with some serious overlap between fandoms probably.
Ok, but how do the individual The Mandalorian season 2 and 3 episodes compare? I prepared a chart for this to visualize the data:
As you can see season 3 had really good numbers with the premiere, viewership was higher than for the season 2 premiere, implying that The Mandalorian remained very popular even more than 2 years after season 2 ended. Even though compared to the season 2 finale, viewership is substantially down
But then viewership declines and throughout the season you can see that the general trend is pretty much flat. Yes, the finale had somewhat more viewers than the premiere and the Ahmed Best cameo episode is a mid season outlier, but generally speaking viewership remained mostly flat.
Compare that to season 2, where you can easily see an upward trend for the full season, viewership increased with almost every episode, the Boba Fett episode the outlier here, since it had the best ratings overall, but as explained further above viewership for the Luke Skywalker finale was certainly affected by the release date, over the actual Christmas period the finale still received very, very high ratings, more than 1 billion minutes, people found some time over the holidays to catch up with the show.
But how do the two Mandalorian seasons and all the other Star Wars season finales compare to the competition? And here I mean Marvel. Let’s look at season finale viewership for all the Star Wars and Marvel live action series on Disney+! I exclude the animated shows here, we have no numbers for The Clone Wars, The Bad Batch never re-entered the charts after the season 1 premiere, only Marvel’s What If made an appearance on the charts with pretty low numbers, a little more than 200 million minutes.
Ok, so how does Star Wars perform compared to Marvel?
If we put things in perspective we find that The Mandalorian season 3 finale is still the 2nd most watched finale on Disney+, with quite some margin even, Loki, the most popular Marvel series had almost 4 million fewer “people” watching the finale. And even more than 8 million fewer people than the Luke Skywalker finale.
Then there is a vast field of shows that do pretty well, WandaVision, Moon Knight, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Book of Boba Fett and She-Hulk that all perform on roughly the same level. Although the numbers for the season finale can be somewhat misleading when it comes to actual average viewership for a full season. She-Hulk failed to enter the charts several times and the finale had by far the best ratings. So average viewership is much lower.
What we can also see is how niche Andor is and the finale had by far the best ratings of the season, with most other episodes having about 8 million “people”. But even more niche is Ms Marvel, who, even though some people claim is “super popular”, has the least popular and least watched Disney+ series, by quite some margin. This show, too, failed to enter the charts, actually, half of all episodes failed to enter the charts. So average viewership is much less than what you see here for the finale. Ms Marvel’s season finale had almost 5 million fewer people than Andor, which already is trailing all the other shows by quite some margin.
So, to sum it all up: The Mandalorian is, by far, the most popular series on Disney+, even somewhat reduced season 3 viewership does not change that, even with season 3 numbers The Mandalorian leaves the Marvel competition behind. Loki is by far the most popular Marvel series, and then most of the other Marvel and Star Wars shows are on a similar level, with Andor falling behind and Ms Marvel only making 60% of Andor’s numbers.
Next week we will see how season 3 is doing one week after the finale aired, or if the series is charting at all. As mentioned, the season 2 finale had great legs and The Mandalorian season 2 remained on the charts for an additional four weeks after the finale was released.
What else: Netflix keeps dominating everything. Disney only has the usual suspects on the charts: The Mandalorian, Bluey, Moana and because it’s been a slow few weeks for movies Encanto reenters the charts with really low numbers.
The Picard season 3 season finale managed to enter the original series charts with 400 million viewing minutes in 9th place! These are, no surprise, the best numbers for the series. Accounting for episode length this means 6.35 million “people” tuned in. Subscriber numbers for Paramount+ in the US are unknown, but worldwide the service had some 56 million subscribers at the end of 2022, compared to Disney’s 161-ish million people. Chances are the majority of subscribers tuned in for the Picard series finale. Also, the show was available on Amazon Prime in selected territories outside the US. And Picard is of course still the only Kurtzman Star Trek series to even be in the top 10.
None of the classic TNG heroes died in the Picard finale, the old crew saved the day (all the young people had been borgified, so the old guard had to save them) and they even left the door open for a spin-off/sequel. It was a reunion done right.
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