Champions of crude cartoons: Matt Groening vs. Seth MacFarlane (The Simpsons vs. Family Guy)

November 8, 2017

 

Season 29 ("The Simpsons") / Season 16 ("Family Guy") Update:

 

 

MATT GROENING’s AND SETH MACFARLANE’s CARTOON CREATIONS SHOW SLIGHT UPWARD TRAJECTORIES

 

The sitcom “Family Guy” is still attracting a higher TV show audience number in P2P networks than “The Simpsons”. Since TECXIPIO has started monitoring P2P activity, a total of 38,998,675 file sharers downloaded and shared at least one file of “The Simpsons” up to November 8, 2017, compared with 50,330,705 file sharers for “Family Guy”. Taking into account that P2P users are active on more than just one day, the total sum of daily file sharers adds up to 105.9 and 141.3 million, respectively. 

 

Both TV shows followed a slight upward trend during their release windows, but these curves dropped off after Episode 5 was aired on November 6, 2017. Due to reshuffled programming with holiday specials on October 31 (Halloween), some series did not air, which left a gap between new episodes that cut into the P2P users’ standard routine of watching Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin flickering across their screens. 


As of Nov. 8, “The Simpsons” managed to attract a total of 1,246,189 file sharers since Season 29 premiered – about 61,500 P2P users more than “Family Guy”.

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Two fictional towns in suburban USA, two legendary American families with famously bone-headed fathers. Whether you’re more drawn to the quippy antics of Homer and Marge and their offspring in Springfield or to the bizarre, lewd misadventures of Griffin clan in Quahog, it’s safe to say both cartoon universes have made their mark on American television. But which one dominates the P2P networks?

 


“The Simpsons”, created by Matt Groening and first premiered on December 17, 1989, is now in its 29th season. Seth MacFarlane’s animated sitcom “Family Guy” took to the airwaves almost 10 years later, on January 31, 1999, and is now in Season 16.


Both TV series kicked off their newest seasons on October 1, 2017. The first episode from the classically yellow creatures was called “The Serfsons”, and 3.26 million TV viewers tuned into watch it. The Griffin Family, by comparison, drew 2.8 million TV viewers on premiere night, according to Nielsen ratings*. The average “Family Guy” episode from last season gained 3.9 million viewers versus 4.8 million for “The Simpsons”.**

 

Our statistics reach back to July 2012, when we started monitoring P2P networks for entertainment companies. Our analysis will therefore draw on the last five seasons (from Season 24 of “The Simpsons” and Season 11 of “Family Guy” to today). 

 

 

TOTAL TV SHOW AUDIENCE IN P2P NETWORKS: 


Over the last five years, 38,248,785 P2P users have downloaded at least one file of “The Simpsons”. Taking into account that IP addresses are active on several days, that number climbs to 103,386,258 sum of daily file sharers.   


THE TOP FIVE COUNTRIES BY NUMBER OF FILE SHARERS ARE 


China 4,377,265
Russia: 3,127,958
Brazil: 2,545,207
United States: 2,257,109
Australia: 2,119,615


In the same time period, almost 50 million (49,657,300) P2P users downloaded episodes of “Family Guy”. The sum of daily unique file sharers even adds up to an impressive 138,889,266 P2P users. 


THE TOP 5 COUNTRIES FOR “FAMILY GUY” 


China: 6,270,941
Russia: 3,929,451
United States: 3,581,886
United Kingdom: 3,492,884 
Australia: 2,698, 982

 

So far, “Family Guy” seems to have beat out “The Simpsons” as the favorite of P2P users. So, let’s put one point on the board for Seth MacFarlane. 

TRENDLINES:

WHICH TV SHOW MANAGES TO KEEP ITS FAN BASE ENTHUSED, AND WHICH ONE HAS LOST FAVOR OVER TIME? 

 

 

 

STRONGLY DECREASING FILE SHARING ACTIVITY FOR “FAMILY GUY”: 


When new episodes of a TV show are released, we tend to see peaks in file sharing activity the following day. The level of these peaks as well as the development over time can be an indicator of popularity – how eagerly are fans awaiting new episodes and how many watched it during release windows?

 

Season 11 – 26,921,742 sum of daily P2P users: Peaks range, aside from a few exceptions (including the first episode with 204,500) from 250,000 to 300,000 daily file sharers.   

 

Season 12 – 22,998,838 sum of daily P2P users: 239,500 file sharers downloaded files of “Family Guy” after the first episode was released. The following peaks increased to 328,600 after Episode 8. With a few exceptions, all episode peaks attracted more than 250,000 P2P users.

 

Season 13 – 19,502,755 sum of daily P2P users: Decreasing trendline during release window. Following the release of the first episode “The Simpsons Guy”, the number of file sharers peaked at 340,500 on September 29, 2014. That figure also marks the all-time high for the past five years. After that, peak levels decreased continuously throughout the release window. Only a few episodes reached levels similar to the previous seasons:   
E3 release 280,900, E6 release: 240,900, E7 release: 178,800, E9 release: 240,600, E11 release: 224,200, E13 release: 172,500, E18 release: 213,300


Season 14 – 19,209,834 sum of daily P2P users: Season 14 started with only 158,800, but Episode 3 managed to bring it to a peak at 242,500. Nevertheless, most other episodes of Season 14 stayed below the 200,000 level per day. The last episode reached only 161,500 P2P users the day following its release. This is a decline of 24.2% compared with the season finale of the previous season. 


Season 15 – 16,488,540 sum of daily P2P users: Compared with Season 14, 32.4% fewer P2P users (107,300) downloaded files of “Family Guy” after it premiered. The highest peak level of Season 15 was at 157,400 following the Episode 7 release. But apart from one other exception, all peaks stayed below the 150,000 level.  

 

 

STABLE UP TO SLIGHTLY INCREASING FILE SHARING NUMBERS FOR “THE SIMPSONS”


Season 24 – 15,004,074 sum of daily P2P users: A weak kickoff turned out 78,700 P2P users, and the first five episodes drew fewer than 150,000. But the trendline continued to increase, and the following episode releases reached between 175,000 and 200,000 P2P users. The finale of Season 24 attracted 206,700 file sharers.


Season 25 – 14,729,544 sum of daily P2P users: The season premiered with 181,400 and ended with 211,200. With one exception, E16 release, which was followed by a low peak of 120,400, all episode releases ranged between 170,000 and 210,000 P2P users. 


Season 26 – 15,656,070 sum of daily P2P users: The season premiere rounded up 230,200 users, and even though the first nine episodes held steady somewhere in the 200,000s, the trendline throughout the release window remained at a slight decline. To put it simply, episodes 10 through 14 averaged about 170,000 and 15 to 21 about 135,000. The last episode of the season jumped up to 168,800 again. 


Season 27 – 16,152,676 sum of daily P2P users: Following the season premiere, we saw a relatively low peak of 131,100 P2P users, but group expanded to 195,600 for Episode 3. Episode releases were followed by relatively stable peaks of between 130,000 and 150,000 file sharers downloading files of the Simpsons. 


Season 28 – 17,713,057 sum of daily P2P users: The season started relatively mildly with 104,000, but has since reached a level similar to “Family Guy”. Numbers continued to climb in the run-up to the release of Episode 7 and even peaked at 161,300 – a higher peak than “Family Guy” managed. From there on, peaks slowly declined toward the last episode with 107,400.

 

 

SO WHO GETS THE POINT? 


Five years ago, “Family Guy” was clearly more popular among file sharers, but the numbers began to align over the course of the latest season. The sum of daily file sharers is 10 million lower for Season 15 than it was in Season 11. On the other hand, “The Simpsons” remained fairly consistent in terms of its file sharer numbers over the years. The sum of daily P2P users downloading files of the long-established TV show even increased by 2.7 million from Season 24 to 28. 
We’re calling the score at 1:2 – “Family Guy” certainly deserved one point for its higher levels at the beginning of our analysis. But “The Simpsons” definitely earned a point for being able to entertain people consistently for 29 years now, plus an extra point for overtaking “Family Guy” during last season’s release window. 

 

AND THE NEWEST RELEASE? HOW DID SETH MACFARLANE’S “FAMILY GUY” AND MATT GROENING’S “THE SIMPSONS” KICK OFF THEIR LATEST SEASONS? 

 

 

The “Family Guy” premiere on October 1 prompted 122,800 P2P users to download files of the show the following day. Of these users, 94,100 went straight for the new episode: “Emmy-winning Episode”. The release of Episode 2 “Foxx in the Men House” triggered 134,000 (95,100 for Episode 2) P2P users on October 9. Down in Springfield, “The Simpsons” drew a total of 116,900 P2P users to their files and 79,000 P2P users opted for the first episode “The Serfsons”. Also for the Springfield stories, the file sharing activity after the second episode release increased to 123,800, but slightly less of these P2P users went for the latest episode (76,600).

 

 

 

As it stands, we seem to be looking at Family Guy being slightly ahead of the Simpsons at the moment. But the current seasons could be building toward a decisive moment. Will “The Simpsons” continue the upward trend? Will “Family Guy” be able to halt its downward trend and steer the figures onto level ground – or even turn this trend upward again? 
We will keep you updated with new file sharing statistics over the course of the release window for two of America’s classic not-for-kids animated television sitcoms. 

 

 

If you are curious about how the story around “The Simpsons” and "Family Guy" will continue to unfold, follow us on LinkedIn to stay tuned. We’re going to keep you updated with new file sharing and audience insights for the current seasons.

 

 

Download infograhic: The Simpsons vs. Family guy  

Source: TECXIPIO PIC
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 Simpsons', respectively "Family Guy" within a certain time period?

 

Further sources: 

* Nielsen ratings / http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/daily-ratings/sunday-final-ratings-oct-1-2017/ 

** Nielsen ratings / http://deadline.com/2017/05/2016-2017-tv-season-ratings-series-rankings-list-1202102340/


 

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