The way I see it, people who keep saying Naruto is popular will be as many as people who are saying Naruto is no longer as popular as it was.
The first group will base their judgement on opinions, unaccountable Internet polling, number of views in YouTube, etc. While the second group made a comparison against official sales numbers and publicly available market research.
I think the fundamental difference is the first group tend to compare Naruto against other series. So, they'd likely say that the numbers from Naruto is not that bad.
And that's where this group missed the whole point. Naruto series "ended" in such a catastrophic way with a confidence that they will achieve better numbers (in sales, TV ratings, etc). All based on the assumption that NH and SS demographic are the one financing the series. Guess what happened? lol.
And now, even with the introduction of another Hinata, the 3rd episode of boruto anime still didn't manage to break through the top 10 charts.
Again, if you compare against other series, of course people will say it's not that bad. But those who stayed long enough know that Naruto, on its peak, has managed to be in the top 10 regularly, and even top 5 occasionally. That's how this series managed to spin off more than 8 full OVA movies to the teather.
Naruto is a vestigial franchise. When one first look at it initially it still looks impressive or at least compared to other lesser anime franchises, but you really dig deeper you realize how far it has fallen.
The main selling point of Boruto right now is that it is a sequel to a once popular anime. That's what is keeping both TV Tokyo and Shueisha from completely abandoning it. Since both are being convinced at the moment by SP and SJ that Boruto is just in a rough patch but once they get going and hit their stride Boruto will be just as popular as Naruto. If either of them realizes that Boruto will never reach anywhere close to what Naruto once had. Then Boruto is done.
Boruto needs to be an international seller for it to succeed -since that's what those companies want-, but its target demographic are currently watching the series early for free are unlikely to purchase the product when it officially comes to their countries in large numbers.
Edited by Bail o' Lies, 24 April 2017 - 04:19 AM.