Our Flag Means Death was a breakout hit last year, its second season is outperforming HBO staples

23 October, 2023

Image: Our Flag Means Death, Max

Our Flag Means Death was a breakout hit with its first season last year. What made the show uniquely successful was the way that audiences gradually discovered it and continued doing so even after its finale. This helped the show to have longer lasting demand than even series which had more immediately successful premieres.  With its second season that premiered on October 5th, the series is building on the fanbase it built in its first season and reaching new levels of success.


Two other Max shows are revealing comparisons to highlight what set the first season of Our Flag Means Death apart from other series premieres on Max. One of the most in-demand new Max originals to premiere this year has been Love & Death. In fact, this show was the fifth most in-demand new series overall to premiere in Q2 this year. We can see that demand in the first two weeks of Love & Death and Our Flag Means Death followed a similar trajectory as both shows gradually inched toward 30 times the average series demand. However, while Love & Death hit a ceiling below 30x demand, Our Flag Means Death continued to gain momentum in the following weeks.

A delayed discovery of the show helped Our Flag Means Death hold onto audience attention well after its finale. Ultimately demand for the show peaked at 40.8 times the average series demand 47 days after it premiered. Contrast this with Peacemaker which had just premiered a few months earlier. The John Cena led DC superhero series benefitted from being part of one of the biggest franchises and had almost immediate success. The finale of Peacemaker peaked at over 45 times the average series demand, but audience interest in the show rapidly fell off after that point. The lesson here is that gradually building momentum, as opposed to burning brightly and then rapidly falling off audiences’ radar, can benefit a show in the long run.


Part of the success story of Our Flag Means Death centers around the young audience it was able to engage. Nearly 50% of the audience for the show is Gen Z - this is a significantly younger audience than the demographics of the audience for Max’s entire catalog. It was largely this young, engaged fandom that helped make the show a viral hit.  With other shows like Euphoria, Max has been particularly successful with engaging this youngest demographic.


So far, the second season of Our Flag Means Death is exceeding the peak of demand for the show’s first season and has averaged nearly 45 times the average series demand in its first ten days. To put this in context, this is about 50% higher demand than the third season of The Righteous Gemstones which premiered June 18th. It is also outpacing demand for the third season of Succession in 2021. While demand for the fourth and final season of Succession this year eclipsed these other series, the fact that Our Flag Means Death is outperforming HBO staples that had an additional season to grow their audience underscores that this swashbuckling rom-com is no longer a scrappy sleeper hit but a flagship original for Max.

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