Hulu's 'Runaways' has lower viewership than all of Netflix's canceled Marvel shows, but there are 2 big reasons it's been renewed

HuluMarvel’s ‘Runaways.’
  • Data provided to Business Insider from the analytics company Jumpshot show that viewership for Hulu’s Marvel TV series “Runaways” lags behind Netflix’s canceled Marvel shows.
  • Hulu recently renewed “Runaways” for a third season and has other Marvel TV projects in development.
  • After the Disney-Fox merger, Disney (which owns Marvel) now owns the majority of Hulu and will likely seek full ownership.
  • Meanwhile, Netflix has canceled its Marvel TV shows, and Disney ended a licensing deal with the streaming giant this year.

Hulu is going full steam ahead on Marvel.

The streamer renewed its Marvel TV series “Runaways” for a third season on Monday, and more Marvel TV projects are in development. Hulu and Marvel are joining forces for four adult animated TV shows, including “Howard the Duck,” that will eventually culminate in a crossover event called “The Offenders.”

Meanwhile, Netflix has continued to cut ties with Marvel. The streaming giant canceled its Marvel TV shows – “Daredevil, “Luke Cage,” “Iron Fist,” “The Punisher,” and “Jessica Jones,” of which the third and final season will still be released later this year. Disney, which owns Marvel, also ended a licensing deal with Netflix this year, and all Disney movies, starting with “Captain Marvel,” will make their way to Disney’s upcoming streaming service, Disney Plus.

Read more: What Disney buying Fox means for movie and TV consumers – from Marvel to Hulu

But data suggest that Netflix’s and Hulu’s diverging strategies on Marvel could have more to do with brand than the popularity of the shows.

Data provided to Business Insider by the analytics company Jumpshot show that Hulu’s “Runaways” lags behind all of Netflix’s canceled Marvel shows in viewership. Season one of “Runaways” was watched by 639,854 viewers in its first week of release in 2017, and 825,195 viewers tuned in for the second season in its first week last year, according to Jumpshot.

Hulu did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

That’s behind the least viewed Netflix Marvel show, season two of “Iron Fist,” which was viewed by 1.6 million Netflix users in the first week. The most viewed Netflix Marvel series, “Daredevil” season two, was watched by 5.8 million viewers in the first week.

DaredevilNetflixMarvel’s ‘Daredevil.’

Still, the viewership trends for Netflix’s Marvel shows were headed in the wrong direction.

Viewership for “Daredevil” dropped to 2.5 million for the third season in its first week of release, and that’s a pattern for all the shows. Season one of “Luke Cage” was watched by 5.4 million viewers in the first week, dropping to 2.3 million for the second season. “The Punisher” viewership dropped 40% in its second season. This could have been especially damaging for the shows, as Deadline reported that Netflix’s costs generally increase for its originals as the seasons go on, particularly after season three.

Interest for Netflix’s Marvel series had been decreasing significantly over time, while interest in “Runaways” rose from its first to second season.

But neither of “Runaways” two seasons hit 1 million viewers in the first week. It’s good to note, however, that Hulu has 25 million subscribers in the US compared with Netflix’s 60 million subscribers in the US and 139 million subscribers worldwide.

After the Disney-Fox merger, which officially closed last week, Disney now owns 60% of Hulu, which could also be a factor in Hulu’s devotion to Marvel. Disney will likely seek full ownership of Hulu, and Variety reported last month that Disney was in active talks with WarnerMedia to acquire its 10% stake.

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