Disney+ has surprised fans by sharing some impressive viewing numbers for the premiere of its latest Star Wars series, Ahsoka. According to the streaming platform, the first episode of the series, which features Rosario Dawson as the titular Jedi, has accumulated a staggering 14 million views worldwide since its August 23rd debut. This move is a departure from Disney’s typical practice of only hinting at the relative success of its shows and movies without disclosing specific numbers.
To put these numbers into perspective, Disney+ is employing the same methodology that Netflix has been using for the past couple of months to count views. The streaming giant divides the total viewing time of a title by its run time to determine the number of views. In the case of Ahsoka, 14 million views for the 56-minute premiere episode translates to a mind-boggling 784 million minutes of worldwide viewing. However, it’s important to note that the term “views” does not necessarily equate to “viewers.” The total viewing time does not account for situations where multiple people watch the show together or when an individual watches the episode multiple times.
Curiously, Disney+ did not release any figures for the second episode of Ahsoka, which also premiered on August 23rd. This selective disclosure raises questions about the streaming platform’s intentions behind sharing these numbers and how they choose which shows to measure.
The release of Ahsoka’s viewing figures marks a significant change for Disney+. While Nielsen includes Disney+ programming in its weekly rankings of the top 10 streaming titles in the United States, this is the first time Disney+ itself has provided concrete viewing data for one of its titles. This move towards transparency comes at a time when data sharing is a point of contention between striking writers and actors and the media companies represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Both the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA have been advocating for residual or revenue sharing based on a show’s performance.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy expressed her excitement about Ahsoka’s success in a statement, saying, “Ahsoka has become a fan favorite with people of all ages, and it’s wonderful to see her continue to resonate with viewers in her very own headlining series.” She also commended the creative team, led by Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau, the talented cast led by Rosario Dawson, and the entire crew for their fantastic work on the show. Kennedy extended her gratitude to the loyal fans who have been following Ahsoka’s journey and to those who are just discovering her in Ahsoka on Disney+.
Disney+ has demonstrated its commitment to providing viewers with high-quality content and now, with the release of specific viewing data, transparency about the popularity and reach of its shows. While it remains to be seen whether this data sharing will continue, it is an exciting development for fans who are eager to know how their favorite shows are performing.