Marvel vs DC: Battle of the Superheroes

26 November, 2015

With the recent release of Marvel’s Jessica Jones, as well as a long list of upcoming comic book adaptations like DC’s Lucifer and Marvel’s Luke Cage, Parrot Analytics examines the demand for these popular superhero titles, specifically comparing the Marvel and DC properties.

How Does Demand for These Industry Titans Compare?

From Marvel, we include Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, Daredevil and Powers, while from DC we include Arrow, Gotham, The Flash and iZombie. Demand Expressions™ and Demand Rating™ are averaged across the four weeks between October 26th and November 22nd.

Out of this set of titles, it is clear that DC is winning: the top three superhero shows by demand are from DC, and only Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has more demand than DC’s lowest-demand show, iZombie.

However, all three of Marvel’s other shows are currently not airing new episodes, unlike DC’s titles and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which may explain their lower demand. We expect that the newest Marvel title, Jessica Jones, will have high demand compared to these older titles.

Another reason for the differences in demand is access. While all four of DC’s titles air on major US networks (FOX for Gotham, the CW for the rest), Marvel’s titles are more distributed. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter air on ABC, but Daredevil (and most other upcoming series) was released on Netflix, and the least in-demand show, Powers, was released through the PlayStation Network. ABC and FOX reach over 112 million households in the US and the CW reaches over 110 million, but Netflix has less than half of that reach with 43 million subscribers.

While the factors of release date and platform affect the demand for these superhero titles, it remains true that DC currently has more demand for its titles than Marvel.

Internationally, this picture is very similar. For comparison, the Demand Rating™ for the shows in the United States is:

In the United Kingdom, the ranking by demand is:

In New Zealand, the ranking is:

The ranking of these superhero titles by demand is exactly the same in the United Kingdom as in the United States, though the top show, Gotham, has more demand in the UK (80.28 Demand Rating™) than in the US (78.36 Demand Rating™). In New Zealand, the top show is iZombie and all four DC titles have more demand than all four Marvel titles.

Among these English-speaking markets, then, DC has a clear lead when it comes to demand for their content.

by Kayla Hegedus, Data Scientist

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