HBO Max’s Our Flag Means Death has become a word of mouth global hit.
The Taika Waititi-created series built exceptional audience demand in the US and worldwide over the course of its just-completed first season, despite launching to little immediate fanfare, and with no pre-existing IP to help get it off the ground.
US demand for the show more than tripled during the three weeks between its series debut and season one finale. The series has continued to grow its audience in the days since the last batch of season one episodes dropped on March 24, as an organic online fandom ensures it continues to own the internet.
“Our Flag Means Death arrives at a time when audiences are looking for a fun, heartwarming, and hopeful series that celebrates authentic queer relationships,” Julia Alexander, Senior Strategy Analyst at Parrot Analytics, said. “Based entirely on original storytelling without any ties to pre-existing properties, Our Flag Means Death has found truly impressive success, demonstrating the power authentic queer and sincere storytelling can have on audiences globally.”
Our Flag Means Death is in the top 0.2% of titles across all platforms in the US and worldwide. Globally, the show hit a peak ranking of 11th most in-demand show in the world, with a peak demand of 48.6x more than the average show worldwide. In the US, it has also hit a peak ranking of 11th most in-demand show with US audiences, and peak demand of 39.7x more than the average show in the US.
It is remarkable that Our Flag Means Death is finding levels of demand that rival superhero series and legacy HBO titles alike, and is off to a better season one start than even Ted Lasso.
HBO/HBO Max Originals
- Since the March 24 season one finale, Our Flag Means Death is the number one recent HBO/HBO Max Original series with US audiences, supplanting the Zendaya-fronted Euphoria, which itself saw triple digit demand growth during its recent season two run.
Global Heat Map
- Our Flag Means Death’s top markets are mostly English speaking and/or Commonwealth countries, but it has also found large audiences in much of Western Europe.
- Since the season one finale, it has achieved 'Exceptional’ demand in the US - ranking among the top 0.2% of shows with American audiences, and ‘Outstanding’ demand in 34 different countries - meaning it ranks in the top 3% of shows in those nations.
- Our Flag Means Death has peaked as the number one show across all platforms in Australia, Sweden, and New Zealand - the home country of series creator Taika Waititi and lead actor Rhys Darby.
- Unlike most shows that end up hitting ‘Exceptional’ levels of demand, Our Flag Means Death had almost no pre-release demand, likely due to the fact it was based on totally original IP.
- Nonetheless, the series debuted to solid demand on March 3, pulling in 11.9x more demand than the average show in the US.
- As more episodes were released on a unique schedule, with two to three episodes launched every Thursday from March 3-24, demand for the show steadily grew week over week.
- Demand for Our Flag Means Death jumped up to 36.7x on March 24 - meaning US demand for the show grew 208% between the March 3 series premiere and the March 24 season one finale.
Our Flag Means Death vs. Ted Lasso
- Our Flag Means Death has followed a somewhat similar, albeit scaled up, growth trajectory to another word of mouth streaming comedy hit - Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso.
- Ted Lasso and Our Flag Means Death both subvert typically macho sub-genres (men’s sports and pirates, respectively) and have an unapologetically positive outlook, while tackling serious subjects like mental health. They also debuted to relatively small immediate demand but built significant audiences over the course of season one due to active organic fanbases that promoted the shows online.
- Our Flag Means Death’s first season has significantly outpaced demand for Ted Lasso during its premiere season. In fact, US demand for Our Flag Means Death on its season one finale was 42.8% higher than demand for Ted Lasso on its season one finale.
Our Flag Means Death vs. Peacemaker
- On a Time Shift Analysis, US demand for Our Flag Means Death is outpacing US demand for Peacemaker during the fourth week of their respective availability.
- 25 days after their respective launches, US demand for Our Flag Means Death was 34.6% higher than US demand for Peacemaker.
- Peacemaker still has a higher peak demand than Our Flag Means Death (as of March 28, 2022), but the fact that these shows are drawing audiences of comparable scale is astonishing. Peacemaker benefited from being part of the DC Universe, was a direct spinoff of James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad movie, and was fronted by John Cena, one of the most recognizable actors in the world.
- Our Flag Means Death was completely original IP with much less star power. Taika Waititi is certainly well known in entertainment circles and has a dedicated fanbase, but he did not have the universal recognition of John Cena heading into this series.