The battle between Netflix's 'The Witcher' and Disney Plus' 'The Mandalorian' previews what's to come in the streaming war
- "The Witcher" surpassed "The Mandalorian" as the most in-demand streaming series over the past week, according to data provided to Business Insider by Parrot Analytics.
- That turned the tables from the week before, when "The Mandalorian" passed "The Witcher," locking the two shows in a streaming battle.
- "The Witcher" is still the most in-demand series globally a month after it premiered.
- This new data suggests that Netflix's binge-release model can sustain interest in the face of increased competition.
- A Parrot Analytics representative told Business Insider that the demand for "The Mandalorian" was "fading faster than demand for 'The Witcher.'"
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The two biggest shows in the US are locked in a back-and-forth battle.
Netflix's fantasy series "The Witcher" surpassed Disney Plus' live-action "Star Wars" series, "The Mandalorian," as the most in-demand streaming series in the US over the past week, according to data provided to Business Insider by Parrot Analytics. The week before that, "The Mandalorian" had dethroned "The Witcher" for the top spot.
"The Witcher" is also the biggest series worldwide by Parrot Analytics' measurement, a title that belonged to "The Mandalorian" beforehand (Parrot Analytics measures demand expressions, its globally standardized unit that reflects the desire, viewership, and engagement of a series).
A representative for Parrot Analytics said that demand for "The Mandalorian" was "fading faster than demand for 'The Witcher.'" Episodes of the former were released on a weekly basis, which helped drive its demand across the duration of its eight episodes (Baby Yoda didn't hurt, either), while Netflix dropped every episode of "The Witcher" at once.
The sustainability of Netflix's binge-release model has been called into question as the streaming war heats up and more companies, like Disney, launch platforms of their own. The Verge's Chaim Gartenberg argued last month, "By dropping every episode at once, Netflix is sacrificing weekly discussions around 'The Witcher' for a short burst of popularity."
But the prolonged success of "The Witcher," especially when up against "The Mandalorian," suggests that Netflix's release strategy - which has rocked the entertainment industry - can survive the growing competition.
"I think binging will remain sustainable for Netflix," Courtney Williams, Parrot Analytics' head of partnerships, told Business Insider. "Netflix is a more revered brand and known quantity in the streaming space. Disney Plus is a beast of its own because it's dealing with brands that in and of itself have enormous clout. But compared to HBO Max or Peacock or something that doesn't have as much status, Netflix has a brand advantage."
Prior to the debut of "The Mandalorian" and "The Witcher," Netflix's other mega-hit, "Stranger Things," topped Parrot Analytics' list of the most in-demand streaming shows in the US for 21 straight weeks. Netflix dominates the rankings every week with shows like "Lucifer" and "The Crown." And "Stranger Things" remains on the list, despite the most-recent third season debuting in July.
"I would imagine shows like 'The Witcher' and 'Stranger Things' will continue to be on that list for quite a while," Williams said. "When you think about the demand expression number, what's going into that is not just the consumption, but also the social aspect of it and the research aspect of it. 'The Witcher' likely had a significant research component to it. Closer to release, social would be higher. And then it would move into consumption as people binge it."
In the month since "The Witcher's" debut, Netflix has engaged its audience and kept it talking on social media, especially with maps and timelines that fans have eaten up. "The Mandalorian," by contrast, was largely dominated by conversations surrounding Baby Yoda.
That doesn't mean that "The Mandalorian" will disappear from Parrot Analytics' demand rankings any time soon or that its current demand isn't impressive. The final episode of "The Mandalorian" aired just a week after the first season of "The Witcher" was released, after all.
But data companies like Parrot Analytics provide further insight into how Netflix's original shows are performing - especially when it comes to impact on the broader cultural conversation online - beyond the selective data Netflix announces (it said "The Witcher" was its second biggest show of 2019 behind "Stranger Things").