Why ‘Loki’ Could Be Disney+’s Secret Weapon for Growth | Chart

The arrival of “Loki’s” second season could be exactly what Disney+ needs to grab and then hold onto the attention of any new subscribers gained in their latest deal with Charter Communications.

According to Ranker Insights, the Marvel series is a “gateway show” for Disney+. Our data says that fans of “Loki” are more likely to also enjoy the streamer’s other popular titles than any other series in the catalog.

That’s useful information after the standoff between Disney and cable provider Spectrum came to an end in September, with the two companies carving out a carriage deal that restored the access of nearly 15 million Spectrum customers to Disney-owned channels. But the deal won’t just bring these customers the linear channels they’re used to — like ESPN, FX, and local ABC stations. It will also bundle the basic ad tier of Disney+ into the cable packages of these millions of customers.

Analysts are still debating whether it was Disney or Spectrum parent company Charter Communications that got the better deal. But even if Disney was fighting to keep Spectrum from offering its streaming service to customers, the agreement comes at a good time for Disney+, which has been shedding subscribers throughout 2023. Though Charter will only pay about half the retail rate of $7.99 per customer, Disney+ should be able to get hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from both subscription dollars and ad sales. But to maximize that revenue, Disney+ will have to get these millions of new customers to actually engage with their service.

That’s where “Loki” comes in. Ranker Insights analyzes the voting behavior of millions of people to find correlations between different movies, TV shows, celebrities and more. Our “Affinity Scores” are calculated based on Ranker visitors who have voted on two different items: the more people that vote the same way about both items, the higher the score.

We took 12 of the most popular Disney+ originals and looked at the Affinity Scores each of them had with one another. We found that the average show from this group had an Affinity Score of 489 with “Loki” — that means that fans of “Loki” are around five times more likely to love any given popular Disney+ series than the average Ranker voter. That’s a higher average than even the mega-popular “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian,” which has an average Affinity Score with other shows in the group of 399.

"Loki" Affinity Chart (Ranker Insights)
"Loki" Affinity Chart (Ranker Insights)

“Loki” appears to be the Disney+ offering that appeals most to dedicated viewers of the platform. That means if the streamer can get new subscribers from Spectrum to tune into Season 2 of “Loki,” the viewers who love it will be more likely to also love other Disney+ offerings, whether they’re fellow Marvel Cinematic Universe installments like “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” or “Star Wars” stories like “The Book of Boba Fett.” In other words, “Loki” could be Disney+’s strongest weapon as it seeks to maximize both ad revenue and subscription dollars from its carriage deal with Spectrum.

But of course, before Disney+ can start turning fans of “Loki”into dedicated viewers of its entire content library, it needs to identify these fans, newcomers to Disney+ who are more likely to enjoy the show. That can be tough if you don’t have visibility into the viewing habits of people outside your current subscriber base. Luckily, Insights can tell us which non-Disney+ shows have strong Affinity Scores with “Loki,” and therefore, which audiences the streamer can target ahead of the release of “Loki’s” second season.

Unsurprisingly, many of those who are more likely to love “Loki” are fans of other superhero shows: Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy,” Prime Video’s “The Boys” and HBO’s “Watchmen” are all five times more likely to also count themselves fans of “Loki.” However, the rule extends to fantasy and science fiction more generally as those who enjoy “Loki” are five times more likely to love “The Witcher,” four times more likely to love “Shadow and Bone” and “Good Omens,” and three times more likely to love Apple TV+’s “Foundation.”

More straightforward dramas also appeal to those who love Disney+’s science fiction superhero series, albeit a little less strongly. “Loki” fans are three times more likely to love acclaimed Netflix miniseries “The Queen’s Gambit”and BBC favorite “Sherlock,” as well as two times more likely to enjoy another popular British export, “Peaky Blinders.” Finally, there’s an appetite for comedy in this audience, too — “Loki” fans are three times more likely to love “Rick and Morty,” another series whose plot hinges on a complex “multiverse,” and two times more likely to love SyFy’s “Resident Alien.”

Disney’s deal with Charter could represent a new way forward for entertainment, synthesizing traditional linear models with streaming in a way that doesn’t upset the current order. But in the short-term, it also represents an opportunity for Disney+ to grow its subscriber base and make the most of the return of a flagship series.

Ryan Mach is a content marketing manager at Ranker, a WrapPRO partner. Visit Ranker Insights for more unique information about any audience or to contact us for more information.

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