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Series popularity: Which new season managed to keep fall TV show fans glued to their screens?

Header image of the TECXIPIO infographic. Fall TV shows: "The Simpsons", "Family Guy", "The Walking Dead", "The Orville" and "Empire".

Fall: more than just a slow trudge into cold weather and earlier nightfall. For the northern hemisphere, it’s also the time when long-awaited TV shows celebrate their official release of new seasons! Following this tradition, a few popular TV shows started airing new episodes over the past two months – and more are standing at the ready. For example, “The Simpsons” started with Season 29, “Family Guy” with Season 16, “Empire” with Season 4, and “The Orville” with its first season on FOX and “The Walking Dead” with Season 8 on AMC, as we’ve reported in some of our previous articles. After each fall TV show aired its season premiere on their respective channels, we reviewed their popularity and performance – according to TV ratings, official critics and, of course, TV show piracy data.

This article will provide a short update on the aforementioned fall TV shows we wrote about in the past, as well as their popularity among file sharers all over the world. How did the number of fans increase or decrease after the premiere episode of each fall TV show aired? Do the numbers show an upward or downward trend? How did the fall TV shows perform against each other?

The following chart shows the number of fans who downloaded and shared the respective premiere episodes on the day following the official release:

TECXIPIO infographic. The number of file sharers who were engaged in TV show piracy of the fall TV show premiere episodes on the day following their official release: "The Simpsons", "Family Guy", "The Walking Dead", "The Orville" and "Empire". "The Walking Dead" was downloaded and shared by aorund 775,000 P2P users.


As reported in our analysis of “The Simpsons – Season 29” versus “Family Guy – Season 16”, both of which premiered on October 1, 2017, “Family Guy” seemed to start slightly ahead of the new installment of “The Simpsons”. But what has changed since the releases of recent episodes that were dropped over the past weeks?

First of all, Seth MacFarlane’s “Family Guy” is still able to attract more P2P users than Matt Groening’s “The Simpsons”. Since July 2012, a total of nearly 39 million P2P users downloaded and shared at least one file of “The Simpsons”, compared with more than 50 million P2P users for “Family Guy”. Taking into account that IP addresses are active on more than just one day, the number adds up to almost 106 and 141 million daily file sharers total, respectively.

During the release windows of the fall TV shows’ new seasons, both followed slightly increasing trend lines, but these trajectories dropped off after Episode 5 was released on November 6. This can be explained by the major media holiday of Halloween on October 31. Due to reshuffled programming with holiday specials, some TV shows didn’t air, which left a gap between new episodes that cut into the file sharers’ standard routine of watching Homer or Peter flickering across their screens.

As of Nov. 8, “The Simpsons” attracted a total of 1,246,189 file sharers since Season 29 premiered on October 1 – about 61,500 P2P users more than Seth MacFarlane’s “Family Guy”.

To get more insights and analyses on the progression of both cartoon series during their current seasons, stay up-to-date with our regular updates on LinkedIn!



Over the past seven seasons, AMC’s popular fall TV show “The Walking Dead” has attracted a huge number of fans. The latest season in "The Walking Dead", Season 8, which kicked off with the premiere episode “Mercy” on October 22, 2017, has shown a significant decline in TV show piracy – 42% – compared with the Season 7 opener in October 2016. That said, compared with most other series – like the two cartoon series mentioned above – “The Walking Dead” still managed to attract a higher number of fans who downloaded and shared episodes, even though only three episodes were released between October 22 and November 8, 2017. Since July 2012, more than 191 million unique IP addresses have downloaded and shared at least one file of TWD up to November 8. The total sum of daily file sharers for the same period adds up to almost 803 million.

Nevertheless, the downward trend is still continuing. According to the TV show piracy numbers, the second episode, “The Damned”, as well as the third episode, “Monsters”, attracted only 754,300 and 618,200 file sharers on the days after their releases, respectively. This corresponds to another drop of 20% from the premiere to the third episode. With a 20.68% decline among viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 for Episode 2, followed by another 5.01% for Episode 3, the TV ratings mirror the decreasing file sharing trends.*

How long will “The Walking Dead” remain in decline? Will the TV show be able to turn around its popularity trend line with the mid-season finale on December 12, 2017? Follow our next season wrap-ups for “The Walking Dead” for more updates on this popular fall TV show!



Good news for fans of the sci-fi series: FOX announced a second season of “The Orville” on November 2, 2017.** Since the first episode of the TV show “The Orville“ dropped in early fall on September 10, 2017, the number of file sharers eager to download “The Orville” episodes saw a slight but steady uptick. The season pilot, “Old Wounds”, drew 140,600 P2P users the day following the release, whereas the airing of the Episode 8, “Into the Fold”, attracted 203,100 P2P users who wound up downloading and sharing episodes of “The Orville”. This represents an increase of nearly 45% and indicates an increasing popularity for the new fall TV show. The overall number of file sharers for “The Orville” wasn’t the only thing that saw an increase – the numbers for individual episodes did, too. According to the numbers, Episode 8 drew around 10,600 more P2P users than the season premiere.

With five new episodes having aired since the last time we reported on “The Orville”, the number of file sharers engaged in TV show piracy for the new fall TV show grew to 2,116,636 by November 8, 2017. In total, that number climbed to a sum of daily file sharers greater than 5.6 million since the first episode was released!



“Empire” is still struggling with its TV show audience numbers. With 91,200 P2P users downloading and sharing episodes of “Empire” in early fall, the TV show began its Season 4 release window with the episode “Noble Memory”. This number equates to 17.2% fewer file sharers for the Season 4 premiere than Season 3.

Since the first episode of the music industry drama was released in January 2015, around 17.7 million file sharers had sought the TV show by November 8, 2017. Given that file sharers may download and share on more than just one day, this number adds up to nearly 60 million in the same period!

With the latest mid-fall update on October 5, the interest of TV show’s audience significantly declined – in TV ratings as well as in TV show piracy. According to the average drop of 25% during Season 4, the downward trend among U.S. TV viewers has been continuing, finally landing at 1.84 million among the 18 to 49 demographic for Episode 4 on October 18, according to Nielsen data.***

Nevertheless, file sharing statistics show a slight upward trend for overall episodes of the TV show: from 91,200 file sharers to 104,400 on the day after Episode 4, “Bleeding War”, was released. But, when breaking down the numbers for file sharers who sought new episodes only on the days of their respective release, the downward trend mirrors TV rating trends overall: from 66,400 P2P users for Episode 1 to 60,000 for Episode 4.



Definition: The file sharing data is based on number of unique file sharers: How many peers (file sharers) shared at least one file of the respective fall TV show within a certain time period?

Further sources:





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Companies of the media- and entertainment industry leverage file sharing data to enhance conventional audience measurement systems.

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