Don't believe the naysayers, Marvel fans. Your favorite new television show is doing just fine. And parent company Disney (NYSE:DIS) is just fine with the results.
To be sure, if you've read the recent headlines, you probably wouldn't think so. A quick web search for last Tuesday's ratings bears mostly gloomy tidings along the lines of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ratings Continue to Fall," and "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ratings Dip to New Lows."
And on the surface that's true.
Though Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. managed to secure the second-place spot during last Tuesday's 8 p.m. hour by a wide margin, it did drop to "just" 7.03 million live viewers and a 2.5 rating in the overall 18 to 49 year-old demographic. Meanwhile, CBS' (NYSE:CBS) NCIS grabbed the top spot with a 2.9 rating and an incredible 18.98 million viewers, while NBC's The Biggest Loser trailed a distant third with a 2.1 as 6.82 million people tuned in.
Kinda makes you wonder why Disney's ABC made the decision last month to pick up Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for its full first season, right? After all, why lock in a show that's performing successively worse with each passing week?
Here's why Disney couldn't be happier
To be sure, it's hard to criticize CBS and NCIS for pulling off the monumental task of drawing the eyes of nearly 19 million people each week.
However, its sheer numbers can only go so far, and that's why "overall" ratings can be a tad deceiving. When you dig deeper, there are several reasons Disney is happy to have Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on its side.
First, consider the fact that last week's episode marked the the sixth consecutive time Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has ranked as Tuesday's number-one show in the key men's 18 to 49 year-old demographic. In fact, season-to-date, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is also currently ranked the number two overall broadcast entertainment series in men 18-49, behind only CBS' long-standing favorite, The Big Bang Theory.
What's more, ABC says, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. also boasts incredible staying power as this season's second-biggest adult 18-49 broadcast gainer in TV playback -- once again trailing only The Big Bang Theory -- while adding 2.1 ratings points, or 62%, from its "live plus same day" and "live plus seven day" viewership.
Finally, to put everything into perspective relative to Disney's previous television standings, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. so far has singlehandedly improved its time period for ABC by 105%, and in the process secured its spot as the network's top-rated series for that hour dating all the way back to 2009.
Not too shabby for a supposedly faltering show whose ratings "continue to fall."
But just for good measure, Disney and Marvel also recently decided it'd be a good idea to orchestrate a significant big screen movie tie-in with this weekend's Thor: The Dark World for the Nov. 19 episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If that doesn't serve to run up the score even further, I don't know what will.
In any case, I've said it before and I'll say it again: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is doing everything for which it was intended (and more) for Disney, so don't worry about whether it'll live to play another day. Instead, just sit back and enjoy the show.
Fool contributor Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.