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

Steve Symington
November 9, 2013

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