We are now almost halfway through 2024, and we’ve seen plenty of new original shows released on Disney+ over the past five months, including animated shows for Disney’s biggest brands, including Marvel and Star Wars, plus much more. 

Recently, Variety, revealed some interesting information showcasing some viewership data for this year’s new original programming, which has shown that the biggest hit on Disney+ this year has been “Percy Jackson And The Olympians”, which is based on the popular book series and is one of the rare hits on Disney+ that isn’t connected to its two major brands.

The Marvel Studios series, “Echo” is the second most watched show on Disney+ this year so far, which was given a binge drop in January, though I would expect that the number of viewers is going to be slightly higher, since it also was made available on Hulu.

This year has seen the release of two animated shows that have been very popular, “Star Wars: The Bad Batch”, which recently wrapped up its third and final season, while “X-Men ’97” has also been a big hit for Disney+.   But it’s vital to stress that the viewership for both of these shows is barely a quarter of that of “Percy Jackson”.  While they are both based on popular franchises and many people assume that any show with those brands attached will do bigger numbers, simply put, animation doesn’t get as much attention from casual fans as live-action does, regardless of how good the shows are. 

Here’s the full breakdown of the viewership so far:

Percy Jackson and the Olympians S1 23.3%
Echo S1 11.8%
X-Men ’97 S1 6.8%
Star Wars: The Bad Batch S3 6.3%
Renegade Nell S1 3.6%
Ahsoka S1 3.6%
The Mandalorian S3 3.3%
Loki S2 3.1%
The Mandalorian S1 2.6%
A Real Bug’s Life 2.6%

Note: This data is based on viewership in the United States from December 30th 2023 through to May 10th 2024.

It’s not a huge surprise to see some of the most popular Marvel and Star Wars shows like “Loki” and “The Mandalorian” continuing to be some of the most watched shows on Disney+, highlighting that some original shows still have value for years after its initial release.

There are two surprising additions on the most watched original list of the year, the National Geographic series, “A Real Bug’s Life”, which tells the story of nine different micro bug worlds around the globe, where the forces of nature play out on a miniature scale and where tiny creatures rely on powers and extraordinary alliances to make it through each day.  No doubt that this show got a boost from being connected to the Pixar movie.

It’s also great to see the British Original series, “Renegade Nell”, has been a big hit on Disney+ this year as the fifth most watched original, so hopefully, this increases the chances of a second season.  The series tells the story of Nell Jackson, who finds herself forced to live on plunder and expedients with her two sisters after being accused of murder. Helped by a brave spirit named Billy Blind, she realises that fate has not led her astray by chance as she navigates war-torn Europe.

It’s noticeable that in 2024, we’ve seen a lot less new original content released on Disney+ as the company drastically reduced the number of new shows and films it makes for streaming to save money and make the platform profitable. 

There has also been a major shift in the United States with the inclusion of Hulu On Disney+. This has doubled the number of films and shows available within Disney+ and allowed the company to focus on its more established franchises to attract adult viewers.  It would be interesting to see how a total comparison with Hulu data compares, but unfortunately, we probably won’t see that for a while until the two platforms officially merge.

It’ll be interesting to see how this data will change by the end of the year, with the release of Marvel’s Agatha All Along” and the two Star Wars live-action series, “The Acolyte” and “Skeleton Crew”, as I’m sure these three shows will rank possibly higher than “Echo”.

Roger’s Take: With so few originals being released so far in 2024, this data isn’t a huge surprise, though it also does highlight how animated shows don’t perform as well as live-action, though the cost of making these shows is far less and allows for broader stories that just wouldn’t be possible in live-action without spending hundreds of millions of dollars.

Are you surprised by this viewership data?  Let me know on social media!



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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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