Over the past few months, Disney+ and Netflix have released shows that had very high ratings, and were lauded by reviewers. Netflix’s The Crown and Disney+‘s The Mandalorian are staples of this trend, both having released a new series of existing landmark shows during November 2020. However, Neilsen, the company that tracks and analyses TV viewing habits * shows that The Mandalorian has kept the amount of people watching each episode at a steady average over its eight-week release schedule; whereas The Crown had the highest ratings of any program in its first week, but then fell to third and fourth place in the weeks following the debut of season four. Why would The Mandalorian, a show that has run for just two seasons (compared to The Crown’s four), beat a show that had received better reviews and been on air for far longer? I believe it is due to the way that Netflix and Disney+ have handled the release of the two programs. 


Netflix will often release the entirety of a season on the day the season premieres. This is the tactic they used for The Crown, and other Netflix originals are treated the same. On average, a household will watch 3.6 episodes of The Crown a week. The show’s ratings started to decline by its second week, going down to fourth place on the table in its third week from achieving the highest ratings of all in its first. The Mandalorian, on the other hand, was released once a week on Fridays, with each new episode being available on Disney+ at midnight. The Mandalorian had an average viewership of 14.6 million viewers a week, compared to The Crown’s 9.7 million viewer average. The Mandalorian’s weekly release kept viewers coming back for each new episode for eight weeks running, but does that strategy benefit Disney+? With Netflix you are encouraged to browse before or after watching. However, if you go to Disney+ to watch a show that releases a single episode each week, such as The Mandalorian, you are going to the platform with only one thing in mind; watching that singular show. For now, Disney+’s strategy is working, but if they don’t continue releasing content such as The Mandalorian regularly, this tactic could prove to backfire. However, Disney+ recently announced a line-up of new Marvel shows, such as Wanda-Vision and Loki. This new content may help them keep their ratings high, and not lose those valuable viewers going to Netflix to browse.


*all data used taken from Nielsen spreadsheets, based on US viewership