Marvel's 'Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Ratings Dropped; Why Disney Doesn't Care

Disney Marvel's Agents of SHIELD competes each week with CBS, NBC

Agent Coulson on Disney Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Image source: Marvel

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.

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Read/Post Comments (18) | Recommend This Article (12)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 11:06 AM, carlbick wrote:

    This show is Horrendous.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 1:14 PM, TMFSpiffyPop wrote:

    We have been enjoying the show -- I think Disney will stick with it -- it'll continue to work to find itself and its audience, but what they already have is pretty solid and the linkage to the Marvel profitability ecosystem is very powerful.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 2:08 PM, Allend406 wrote:

    This show is so boring, keep watching though hoping for another nick fury appearence or a huge movie tie or somthing.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 2:13 PM, JRobertHanson wrote:

    And the fact Disney has made SHIELD too big to fail. The goal is to have the show use an amazing amount of tie-ins uniting the Marvel movie universe. Without SHIELD that objective becomes much more difficult to achieve.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 3:04 PM, TheMom wrote:

    This show is awesome and clearly Disney isnt as stupid as fox and is giving the show a chance (coughfireflycough) not to mention who exactly watches live tv anymore?

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 3:09 PM, Trashboy4p wrote:

    allen406, I'm pretty sure everyone that watches Agents of Shield are fans of the films, Avengers, Thor, Iron Man, etc, so yes, everyone is expecting some sort of cameos from someone to tie in the show with those films, but we don't expect them all the time. But it's also a good show on its own. I'm liking it and will continue to watch it. It sure beats any of those stupid reality shows that are out there.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 3:19 PM, Charolette wrote:

    I watch every week and can have enjoyed them for the show they are. It stands alone and i look forward to the last few min each week.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 3:44 PM, RockingJamboree wrote:

    Here's another way that Shield is a WINNER, Marketing! How many NCIS Toys will there be this Christmas? Does any kid want to sleep on NCIS sheets? Marketing can potentially bring in millions of revenue beyond advertising. Since Disney owns Marvel and controls the Marketing/Licensing of SHIELD, they will see a money from this beyond advertising.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 5:43 PM, jerrylousalem wrote:

    Man - i wish this article touched on in some way that the series is currently squandering its creative potential. I can't believe that a Joss Whedon show, set in the Marvel universe - basically "The Avengers - The Series" is so darn boring. It's like the worst of the x-files so far and the cast is just a bunch of wooden tomato cans. They may note "care" about the ratings now, but if this thing limps along for 2 or 3 years and then gets put out of its misery, Disney will have something worse than falling ratings on their hands. It will be a smudge on their nice shiny brand. And that's why they should be concerned about the ratings drop. I know a lot of people watching this show almost out of obligation. WIth the sense that it's set in the "Freakin' Marvel Universe!!!" so something awesome is always about to happen. But no, it continues to be a snore week after week. When those baked in fans give up, it's be a real mess and a real debacle. Maybe then Joss Whedon will rethink his life and shoot claymation Firefly eps in his basement - god the mediocrity must be killing him. I've rambled - sorry. But this show better get its act together before it looses the fan boys or excuse-laden articles like this won't be able to answer to the fact that the show's been canceled.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 5:56 PM, CBG78 wrote:

    Hey guess what Disney owns the network they can keep it on all they want. Plus it will probably tie in with everything else

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 7:39 PM, no1important wrote:

    I love all of Marvel's recent projects and I enjoy SHIELD, too. The truth is I just don't watch a lot of TV. Especially during the weeknights. This was a good idea but it is aimed towards people who have a little more time on their hands. No disrespect intended.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 8:40 PM, Koschei wrote:

    I enjoy SHIELD quite a lot, and so does my mother. That's saying something, since she's very picky about her shows. I don't find the show boring...I find it compelling. The show is testing waters...Its a super hero/comic show...and those types of shows are very hard to do well.

    On top of it, its against NCIS, a still fairly popular show. Just needs to find the right footing. SHIELD might take a season to pick up, much like Star Trek did. I want to know more about Phil, I want to know more about the rest of the Team.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 9:54 PM, leo561 wrote:

    where as i Still like NCIS at this moment but things are changing on this show but i do DVR Agents of shield so i can at least FF thru commercials or rewind to view something i missed or mis-understood but it might be good to get the Heros Back story as the group is now and how they got where they are...Maybe put this show on a monday or a friday at the 7PM slot-I will just DVR it and not watch it live mostly cause of commercails...

  • Report this Comment On November 10, 2013, at 1:19 AM, pamgreenclinton wrote:

    I love the show but I love NCIS also so each week I take turns then watch the one I have missed on Charter on Demand. I hope they continue the show and Clark Gregg is awesome.

  • Report this Comment On November 10, 2013, at 1:26 AM, Rubbernecking wrote:

    Jerry, i couldn't agree with you more. I feel like I am obligated to watch this boring show out of respect for the Marvel Universe, but I am quickly losing my patience. I thought they would be introducing cool b list heroes like: Cloak and Dagger, North Star, Puck, Dr Strange, war machine, x-23, Nova, Moon knight, war machine, or many more. Who wants to watch a super hero show that lacks recognizeable super heroes? Marvel needs to take a lesson from DC; they know how to put together a good tv show. I am loving Arrow.

  • Report this Comment On November 10, 2013, at 9:34 AM, Shirleyj wrote:

    I have also watched faithfully expecting the show to get better and it does not. What really appalls me is the lack of diversity among the cast. Apart from the Asian American who plays a macho female near freak the cast is lily white and lacking in personality and super hero panache. In a world that is so diverse how is this possible? The only other people of color were bad guys. I love the Coulson character and continue to watch because of him but this is getting old. We need to bring back the Gene Roddenberrys who see a world that includes all of us.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2013, at 8:13 AM, puzxleman65 wrote:

    Love the show. Very entertaining. Disney did not disappoint.

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2013, at 8:22 AM, Tuckashea wrote:

    I have been very pleased with this show. It's been a really good family show and I hope they keep it that way. I do love all the movie tie-ins, it definitely makes you feel more connected to the Marvel universe. However, I also would like to see some superheroes in it. Some of you are making statements like the main characters in the show are superheroes, they are not, they are the agents that investigate the super-natural events before superhero intervention, they are also the ones that go in and clean-up after the superheroes.

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