Tracking 'The Walking Dead' - Part 3

‘THE WALKING DEAD’ – United States Special

AMC’s The Walking Dead – Part 3 of our four-part series on the most popular zombie series sets its focus on analyzing TWD's home country in more detail. From the most favorite episodes to comparing TV ratings with file sharers - the third part gives comprehensive insight into the U.S. fan-base market.

TECXIPIO infographic 'Tracking TWD' part 3/4. Header shows title of infographic with a zombie in the background. The titles says: Tracking The Walking Dead Part 3 - United States special

Contagion waning where the outbreak started

In the previous segment of our analysis, which focused on the TOPs for AMC’s “The Walking Dead”, we noticed that English-speaking countries, especially the U.S., have seemed to lose interest in the zombie series over time. The number of P2P users sharing episodes of TWD in the U.S. has declined by almost 1.5 million since Season 3, from 2,966,797 file sharers to just 1,580,448 during the Season 7 release period. With the U.S. fan base steadily depleting since Season 4, other countries have trampled past TWD’s home stomping ground when it comes to the top 10 fan countries. Although the U.S. flipped between ranks 4 and 3 during previous seasons, it has now sunk to the lower third, taking spot 7 during Season 7.

The first part of the TECXIPIO infographic 'Tracking TWD' part 3/4 shows the development of number fans of the TWD sharing files during release windows in the U.S.

Who caught the higher-grade zombie fever in the U.S. – file sharers or paying cable customers?

The TV ratings for TWD in the U.S. mirror the overall declining interest in the zombie series among file sharers in recent seasons.
The number of loyal fans sharing the latest episodes of TWD immediately upon release in the U.S. has been constantly decreasing since Season 3. This downward trend has now spread to TV viewers. The current rating counted an average of 11.35 million viewers per episode in Season 7. In comparison, Season 5 still attracted an average of 14.38 million, and Season 6 brought in 13.15 million averaged across the whole season.
As mentioned in the first installment of our four-part series on TWD, the storytelling varies greatly across individual seasons, which becomes apparent when analyzing the respective file sharing data. We wanted to take these insights a bit further to see if we could find similar patterns among TV viewers.  As it turns out, the file sharer peaks that occur on release dates during Season 7 correspond to the TV ratings for those episodes, indicating a statistically significant pattern!

The second part of the TECXIPIO infographic 'Tracking TWD' part 3/4 shows a graph comparing the number of P2P users sharing files of TWD with TV ratings over  the last TWD seasons
The third part of the TECXIPIO infographic 'Tracking TWD' part 3/4 shows a graph comparing the number of P2P users sharing files of TWD with TV ratings of Season 7

Zombie fans drawn to the cities

By using the city breakdown option, we analyzed 20 cities in the United States with the highest number of TWD file sharers. As a result, we were able to observe a kind of urban shift among zombie fans from Season 5 to 6: While the total number of U.S. fans decreased within that time period, the show’s popularity in major cities actually tripled. But bigger cities don’t seem to be immune to the recent trend, either. Following U.S. development, albeit at a slower pace, numbers there declined again during last season as well.
In general, the city with the highest density of TWD fans has not changed since Season 5: Los Angeles has earned the top spot three years running. Brooklyn, New York, which was No. 2 for two years, was pushed out by Houston, Texas, last season. But all in all: Every city in the top list shows a declining number of fans.

The fourth part of the TECXIPIO infographic 'Tracking TWD' part 3/4 shows the top cities and districts with the highest number of file sharers of Season 7 in the U.S.


The top seasons and episodes reveal a very particular taste among U.S. fans, compared with the worldwide top list:

The most popular episodes stateside were Episode 2, “Strangers,” and Episode 1, “No Sanctuary,” from Season 5, garnering the most shares since Season 3. But just like worldwide, Season 3 remains the best-loved season in the U.S.  so far.



The fifth part of the TECXIPIO infographic 'Tracking TWD' part 3/4 shows the most popular TWD seasons and episodes among file sharers in the United States since Season 3 of 'The Walking Dead'.
The sixth part of the TECXIPIO infographic 'Tracking TWD' part 3/4 shows the three most popular TWD episodes among file sharers in the United States since Season 3.


In the first part of our worldwide analysis of “The Walking Dead,” we revealed that catch-up activity generally takes place between Episode 2 and Episode 4 of every season, meaning the biggest surge of new fans come on the scene at the beginning of new seasons. The U.S. actually follows this pattern for the most part. Here, the only difference is that the catch-up window reached back even further in seasons 3 and 7, beginning as early as the first episode.


The seventh part of the TECXIPIO infographic 'Tracking TWD' part 3/4 shows a graph comparing P2P users who share episodes of the first season of The Walking Dead during Season 3 release window vs. Season 7 release window.


After reading this, do you find yourself asking:

  • What other things are fans of “The Walking Dead” interested in during release windows?
  • What do they do during mid-season breaks?
  • How does TWD’s prequel “Fear the Walking Dead” compare with the series that spawned it?
  • What else could we find out by analyzing the people who share the world’s most popular zombie series?


If so, keep your eyes peeled for the last installment of our analysis, where we’ll be examining cross-consumption behavior. It’s coming your way on April 24, 2017.

Keep your appetite up...


If you missed them the first time around, check out our previous segments on worldwide popularity and all of TWD’s TOPs!

- Tracking 'The Walking Dead': Part 1 - worldwide popularity

- Tracking 'The Walking Dead': Part 2 - top rankings

- Tracking "The Walking Dead": Part 4 - behind the scenes in fan libraries

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