Nearly halfway through 2021, the Marvel shows on Disney+ have been everything the parent company hoped they would be. WandaVision‘s mystery and a 17-month void of Marvel content helped drive weekly conversations across the internet from January into March. Coming right on that show’s heels, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier fared similarly while discussing legacy and race in America.
And while the lead characters in those shows were all established in advance, none of them had the following that Tom Hiddleston’s Loki possesses among Marvel fans both casual and hardcore. It’s that baked-in buzz and instantly recognizable co-star Owen Wilson that created so much interest in advance of Loki‘s solo show premiere on June 9. According to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, that interest paid off, as Loki became the most-watched Disney+ series premiere in its opening week.
Now, take the claim with a grain of salt. There have only been a handful of high-profile Disney+ series premieres (now three Marvel shows, plus Star Wars’ The Mandalorian), and without actual data presented, Chapek’s obviously motivated to proclaim that the latest Disney+ series is always the most-watched yet. A growing subscriber base would also make that more likely as time goes on as well.
Still, the fact that Disney is so quick to talk about Loki‘s early success would seem to indicate fan and business hype around the show was warranted. As was the promotion cycle Disney+ engaged in, making sure that everyone knew that the fan-favorite character was back from the dead (he was killed in 2018’s Infinity War film) and getting his own show.
According to data from iSpot, from April 1 through June 13, Disney+ ads featuring Loki delivered nearly 612 million TV ad impressions. Nearly 529 million of those came via the standalone Loki spot, and overall, the approach around Loki leaned heavily on Disney-owned networks. Over 21% of all Loki-related TV ad impressions came from ABC, and over 50% came from Disney-owned networks. Disney+ also utilized tentpole programming for promos, with the most impressions coming during NBA games (5.8% of TV ad impressions), Good Morning America (2.9%), America’s Got Talent (2.4%) and college basketball (2.2%).
While those impression totals were lower than what Disney+ had leading up to both WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki also had a brand integration with Hyundai. (the other shows didn’t have ad integrations with brands – which have previously been reserved for Marvel’s biggest movies). That ad has tallied 18.8 million TV ad impressions against estimated “spend” of over $433K from June 10-14, though every airing has come on a Disney-owned network.
Disney led the charge creating hype for Loki on social video as well. Data from Tubular Labs shows that 178 million YouTube views were generated around the character from April 1-June 13, with Marvel itself accounting for 43.4 million of those, and Disney Plus Hotstar Premium adding another 14.8 million; they were the top two creators of Loki-related content on the platform. On its own, Marvel’s official trailer on April 5 collected 20.4 million views on YouTube, as it provided fans with the most preview content around the show before its premiere.
Other content creators also fueled conversation too, though. IGN uploaded 13 different Loki-related videos totalling 6.2 million views in the timeframe, and New Rockstars had 14 amounting to 4.9 million views.
With five more episodes set to air from this week through mid-July, there’s still plenty more time for Disney to promote the show across various platforms. But at least early on, it seems that promos and character popularity have helped drive initial success.