The force remains strong with Star Wars, which beat out Marvel as the top franchise in a new survey of U.S. and UK gaming and entertainment fans by online community and data firm Fandom.
The 2023 list (check it out below) is full of surprises beyond the top two spots. One Piece, a nearly 30-year-old anime property that recently broke out globally via Netflix, finished No. 3, just ahead of video game mainstay Elder Scrolls. Yellowstone, barely five years after its linear TV premiere, was rated No. 7, three spots ahead of Disney.
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The 2023 Inside Fandom Study, which surveyed 5,000 fans and combined those insights with analysis of Fandom’s proprietary, first-party data from 2023, assessed the impact of franchises in entertainment and gaming. More than two-thirds of respondents expressed a preference for “established universes with strong fan bases,” Fandom noted. The study identifies the key contributors to franchise success and looks at the different paths franchises take, either going wider with spinoffs and adaptations or delving into the core stories via sequels and prequels.
The five key elements in franchises’ potency, per Fandom, are “world-building; high ratings [from critics and fans]; fierce fanbases; cultural relevance; and consistency.” The company gauges each to determine a numerical “Franchise Factor” score.
In this year marked by cross-sector leaps, from Barbie to Super Mario Bros. to The Last of Us, the study also looked closer at interest translating from one arena of the culture to another. A surprisingly high number of fans — 72% — are more likely to engage with a franchise extension rather than a brand new
IP, and 83% of those interested in a cross-media expansion describe themselves as gamers.
“Franchises made up 95% of the top blockbusters and games in 2023, yet there has been no single unified view on what’s capturing fan attention and why,” Fandom CEO Perkins Miller said. “The Franchise Factor framework gives creators, producers, and marketers actionable insights and tools to strengthen their franchises in an increasingly competitive landscape.”
Founded in 2004 by Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley Starling, Fandom controls a large cache of data on consumer preferences in film, TV, video games and other corners of pop culture. Insights from this large population of engaged fans is harnessed for FanDNA, Fandom’s proprietary data platform. In recent years, the company has acquired ScreenJunkies, Curse Media and Fanatical, increasing its presence in the pop culture, gaming and ecommerce sectors. Last fall, it added 46 million monthly active users to its previous base of more than 300 million by acquiring GameSpot, Metacritic, TV Guide, GameFAQs, Giant Bomb, Cord Cutters News and Comic Vine from Red Ventures.
Here are the top 25 franchises of 2023, per Fandom:
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