Disney and Rebels: Math Can Be Hard

So after my epic rant about Disney’s handling of the launch of Rebels, and the dramatic drop in viewers since its debut on DisneyXD I’ve been hit with a lot of question about why the drop, is the show in danger of being cancelled, are you being just a wee bit of an alarmist?

Let me state right up front; I do not believe Rebels’ cancellation is imminent, and I fully expect Disney to proceed with Season 2, but after that who knows?  The whole purpose of my article was to point out to fans that there were some not so good trends going on in the numbers, and fans needed to show their support for the show to ensure the series has a long run.  Also I wanted to examine why the numbers dropped, and what Disney should be doing to expand the Star Wars brand.  My conclusion was that Disney needed to consider moving the show to another network like Disney channel, or at least change the broadcast date and time.

After a day or so of fielding questions and talking with fellow fans I decided to dig even more into the numbers and break down demographics… that’s when I uncovered a trend that blew my mind and really demonstrated how out of touch Disney was when it came to fangirls.

The Numbers Are the Numbers

As of this moment we only have detailed demographic break downs of the Nielsen numbers for Spark of Rebellion and Droids In Distress.  Even though the numbers for Fighter Flight have been available to Disney since Tuesday, they have chosen to remain silent, and have not even issued a press release about Monday’s numbers.  So for the purposes of this examination I decided to stick with the number for Droids In Distress since the show now resides on Disney’s boy-centric network and it gives us a snapshot of what the demographics were that evening, and might reflect in the future.

Droids In Distress had  1,030,000 total viewers, and of those viewers, 481,000 of them were kids ages 6-14.  That means 549,000 viewers were outside the target demographic of the show, which of course means parents of young fans, and hundreds of thousands of late teen and adult Star Wars geeks tuned into the show.  Obviously the late hour had a negative effect on the target demographic.  Now let me break down these numbers:

481,000 all kids 6-14

356,000 kids 6-11   74% of all kids

125,000 kids 12-14   26% of all kids

So, as you can see the show clearly had more viewers 6-11, but the representation of slightly older kids is nothing to sneeze at.  But it was at this point where the number got REALLY interesting… in a way completely contradictory to how Disney is promoting the show.

Boys Demographics… Solid

Of the 481,000 kids ages 6-14 who watched the show, 369,000 were boys and made up 76.7% of all viewers 6-14.  Their numbers break down further like this:

283,000 boys 6-11 76.7%

86,000 boys 12-14 23.3%

Clearly younger boys have a deeper connection to the show and stayed up late to watch.  The number is a little surprising considering Ezra should be right in the wheelhouse of boys 12-14 as he’s the same age range.  So of ALL boys, fewer than a quarter of them are watching Star Wars Rebels

Girls Demographics… Mind Freak

Finally, we arrive at the numbers for female viewers.  According to Nielsen, a total of 112,000 girls ages 6-14 watched Droids In Distress. Overall they made up 23.3% of total viewers ages 6-14.  But here’s where the numbers flip, and where Disney should be paying close attention.

73,000 girls 6-11 65.2%

39,000 girls 12-14 34.8%

Yes, you read that right… Girls 12-14 made up a higher percentage of viewers in their respective demographic.  They outpaced boys by almost 12% by demographic.  While 39,000 viewers may not be a lot compared to 86,000, the fact that older girls were more willing to sit down and watch the show compared to their male counterparts shows there’s a lot of room for growth among early teen girls.  And this isn’t really surprising as you have one female teen on the show, Sabine, and you have Hera, an older female role model.

I’ll be honest, if I were at Disney, and I was looking at these numbers, I’d really begin wondering why this show isn’t on the Disney Channel.  There’s more visibility, and there’s clearly more potential growth in the 12-14 year old girl than there is among boys in the same age bracket.  It’s something to consider….

May the Force Be With You



4 thoughts on “Disney and Rebels: Math Can Be Hard

  1. I fully admit I don’t understand television, and especially not animated television. From what I heard, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was the highest rated show on Disney XD, and it was canceled in favor of a more episodic show that specifically uses the Avengers from the movies. Not sure how that show is doing versus Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but I’m not sure why you would cancel the highest rated show on the network to tinker with it.

    I think Disney is dealing with an interesting paradigm right now. I can remember listening to a podcast where it was assumed if Star Wars opened against fellow Disney property Avengers, Star Wars would automatically run Avengers into the ground. I don’t think that’s nearly the foregone conclusion that it once might have been.

    That’s not to say that Disney doesn’t have a huge installed fan base that could be flared up into an unstoppable juggernaut once again, but I think it will take more work than might be assumed versus the assumption that Star Wars sells itself.

    No matter what Disney marketing wins might exist, this is still the company that essentially tanked their own John Carter franchise.


  2. It would be interesting to compare these numbers with the numbers for The Clone Wars at this point in its run. I definitely think a change in time slot would help. An hour long Saturday morning Star Wars block would be cool, with the previous week’s episode and the new episode making up the hour.

    Liked by 1 person

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