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DC Universe Continues to Add Content, but Do They Have the Subscribers to Support It?


Robin in DC Universe's Titans

It’s been roughly five months since the launch of DC Universe, the streaming platform that hosts a library of DC shows, films, and comics, as well as exclusive original content for DC fans. So how is the DCU faring against other streaming services? It can be difficult to parse out how successful these platforms are, as subscriber numbers and viewership data are often withheld from the public.

DC Universe has struggled to make a mark in the already crowded world of streaming content. Its flagship show Titans, which spawned the goofy yet meme-able “F*ck Batman” trailer premiered to mixed reviews. Still, it was successful enough to earn a second season, which is set to shoot early this year.

In addition to Titans, DCU is moving full speed ahead with a slate of original programming which includes animated series Young Justice: Outsiders and Harley Quinn, as well as several live-action series. Doom Patrol, which stars Brendan Fraser, Matt Bomer, and Timothy Dalton, drops next month and promises a lighter tone than Titans.

In addition, Swamp Thing, produced by James Wan, is in production, with Andy Bean (Power) and Ian Ziering (Sharknado) starring, and a newly announced Stargirl series starring Brec Bassinger (Bella and the Bulldogs) and Luke Wilson is in development.

But this crowded slate begs the question: just how many people are watching DC Universe? According to data collected by Sensor Tower, the DC Universe app was downloaded and installed by 143,000 users in the first two weeks of its launch. However, only 24% of those users ended up subscribing to the service (at $7.99 a month), which means subscriber count in the first two weeks was roughly 33,000. DC Universe currently ranks at #65 in the Entertainment category in the iOS App Store for iPhone. Granted, that’s just in the first two weeks of the launch, but we have no idea where the current numbers are for the DCU.

Compare that to Hulu, which just topped 25 million subscribers and Netflix, which has over 130 million users worldwide. Yes, their libraries and reach massively outstrip that of DCU, but those platforms also feature a range of comic book series and films. Another issue is that DC Universe has yet to go international, so for now their series are being distributed through Netflix. If that’s the case, then what incentive is there for international subscribers to sign on?

Which brings us to perhaps the biggest challenger to DC Universe: the proliferation of superhero films and television series across networks, basic cable, and streaming platforms. The market is currently glutted with superhero content (lucky us), and DC Universe is struggling to separate itself from the already successful Arrowverse on the CW and the countless other comic book adaptations on-air and in the works.

To truly distinguish themselves, DC Universe will need a breakout show of their own, something to make waves and garner eyeballs in this era of peak television. Because its not just enough to be successful: shows today have a major cultural resonance to stand apart. Here’s hoping that DC Universe will find that show in their stable.

(via Sensor Tower, image: DC Universe)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband and two poorly behaved rescue dogs. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.