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“Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir”: The French cartoon’s rise to global popularity

1 May, 2021

Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir, also known as Miraculous, follows the lives of Marinette and Adrien, two seemingly normal teenagers who are secretly superheroes. Each episode consists of a new villain that they must stop from wrecking havoc on their home city of Paris.

The French show, now co-produced by Zagtoon, Method Animation, Toei Animation, De Agostini Editore and SAMG, has made a steady rise in the children’s genre since its 2015 release. As of the past 90 days, it is globally the second most in-demand children’s show.

This article covers Miraculous’ rise to global popularity and its growing audience demand.

Initial Release

The show originally aired in France and South Korea in September 2015. After its success in Europe, Miraculous was released in the United States on Nickelodeon in December 2015.

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Averaging just under twice the demand of the average series worldwide (1.91x), the show’s demand for its first 365 days was a lot lower than what it is today.

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The show increased in global demand over 2017, rising to 3.21 times more demand than the average show. This was likely due to three of its seasons being picked up by Netflix in late 2016.

Rising Demand

The show’s first major leap in global demand happened over 2018, going from the previous year’s 3.21x to 12.52x more demand than the average show.

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In September of that year, live-action film and TV rights were acquired by Skydance Media. The series subsequently grew to 14.95x the demand of the average global show the year after. This was likely due to the show being acquired and aired by Disney Channel US in April of 2019.

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Miraculous grew to 19.83x the global TV series demand average in 2020. Part of the reason for this rise in popularity could have been increased use of streaming services over the pandemic.

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Kidscreen reported that children were spending 3.3 hours a day watching video content over 2020 - 0.4 hours more than the average in 2019. They noted that the use of on-demand services are even more on the rise, with 46% of the survey group saying they only or mostly use streaming services, while linear TV usage has fallen from 56% in 2019 to 42% in 2020.

The current landscape - United States

Over the past three months, Miraculous has come in second only to Spongebob Squarepants in the Children’s genre in the US. Currently, it is sitting at 37.57 times more demand than the average TV show.

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Children, younger children especially, tend to appreciate repetition when it comes to television shows. This could be part of the reason why it can be difficult for newer shows to overtake the more established shows. The high level of demand for Miraculous, then, is an impressive achievement considering it is the newest show on the list, aside from PJ Masks, which was also released in 2015.

Markets with the highest demand for Miraculous

Over the last 30 days, the United States is the market with the highest demand for Miraculous, with 31.12x more demand than the average show. However, many other markets including Russia, Great Britain and Mexico, as well as its country of origin, France, have outstanding levels of demand for the show as well.

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Possible Reasons for Miraculous’ Success

Such widespread and high-level global demand for the show could be due to a number of reasons.

One such reason could be the current high demand of the superhero genre. With the box office success of superhero movies over the past decade, such as 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, which topped the box office making $2 billion worldwide, it’s not surprising to see that demand crossover into TV-series. For instance, WandaVision was 63.5x more in-demand than the average show during its release in February, 2021. Miraculous, with its superhero characters, has made for a successful addition to the current demand for the genre - while being entirely suitable for very young audiences.

Another reason for the show’s success could be because it follows a relatively repetitive story structure for each episode. The other highly successful shows in this market, such as Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig and Spongebob Squarepants, all follow this structure as well. The ease of watching the show is not hindered by a very important over-arching storyline. Therefore, parents are able to switch the show on at any stage and the show is still followable and enjoyable.

Following the repetitive structure, it is also important to note the current demand for more family friendly content - particularly in countries hugely affected by the pandemic. Miraculous episodes are less than half an hour long each and so they are easy for parents to sit through, and even enjoy on their own part, with their child. This is very important to consider, particularly in the present time. Kidscreen reported that 44% of children say that their favorite thing to do at home is to spend time with their family.

Miraculous episode specials and films: Their impact on the United States Market

The show has also branched out into episode specials, Miraculous World: Shanghai, releasing at the end of this month, and Miraculous World: New York - United Heroez, released in September 2020, as well as the upcoming film Ladybug & Cat Noir Awakening, which will be released late this year. The release of these films and extended-length specials, could be another potential impact on the demand in specific markets, particularly that of the United States.

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Over the period of April 10 to May 10 this year, Miraculous has been 31.09x more in demand than the average show in the United States. It is the third most in demand children’s show in the United States, under Spongebob Squarepants and Sesame Street for this period.

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In the month prior to the release of the show’s first extended-length episode special, Miraculous World: New York - United Heroez in September 2019, as well as the films and other specials that followed, Miraculous was 17.11 times more in-demand in the United States than the average children’s show. This could suggest that the decision to branch out into stand-alone content has contributed to the show’s rise in popularity in the United States.

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Season 2, released prior to the release of the episode specials and films, had significantly lower demand than season 3.

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In October 2019, the month after the release of Miraculous World: New York - United Heroez, season 3 had a significant rise in popularity, being 22.75x more in-demand than the average show. At the same time from the release date, season 2 was just 1.66x the demand of the average show. While the significant difference in general popularity of season 3 in the United States could largely be due to other factors, its spike in October could be attributed to the release and impending release of the episode specials.

Conclusion

Miraculous, perhaps because of the continued global demand for the superhero genre or the increased need for family friendly content due to the pandemic, has risen to the second most globally in-demand children’s show. This rise is also very notable in the United States market, specifically. With other shows in the same genre boasting many more years of air-time, Miraculous’ success in a market that appreciates repetition and familiarity can be considered an admirable one.

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