On Friday, Netflix will launch the first of four series based on Marvel Comics properties, and industry watchers will be tuning in to see whether the exploits of a blind lawyer with superhuman senses can find an audience.
There is no doubt "Daredevil" has a loyal and wide following. Marvel's so called "Man without Fear" and his eponymous series debuted 51 years ago this month. Yet unlike some of its current projects, Marvel Studios is venturing beyond the realm of family friendly superhero fare, reaching deeper into its bench of characters with its darker Netflix shows.
A deal announced in November commits the Web streaming company to host four separate 13-episode shows starring Daredevil, reluctant heroine Jessica Jones, reformed criminal Luke Cage and the mystical martial artist Iron Fist—as well as a miniseries that ties all four shows together. Marvel Television will produce the series in association with ABC Television Studios, both of which are owned by Walt Disney.
The deal makes sense, as it follows a 2012 agreement that designates Netflix as the exclusive U.S. streaming service for first-run Disney movies beginning in 2016, Anthony DiClemente, senior analyst at Nomura, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday.
"The Marvel relationship … is a reminder of the positive relationship that Netflix has with Disney," DiClemente said. He continued to say the Marvel shows help Netflix diversify its content, which can improve subscriber retention.