Tracking 'The Walking Dead' - Part 4
‘THE WALKING DEAD’ – BEHIND THE SCENES IN FAN LIBRARIES: WHAT ELSE DO TWD BUFFS LIKE?
After analyzing the broader data that spoke to the worldwide popularity of AMC’s “The Walking Dead”, as well as its TOPs and a deep-dive U.S. special, we’re ready to dig on down into the nitty-gritty of file sharers’ behavior. In this section, we have taken a batch of nearly 20,000 P2P users who shared at least one episode of TWD during a certain time period and have analyzed them to find out what else they’ve been passing around: other TV shows, movies, music and games.
Getting to know the fans
During the release window of Season 7 of AMC’s “The Walking Dead”, we counted 133 million transactions that were generated by over 39 million file sharers. On top of that, our data revealed that each of those file sharers contributed an average of about 3.5 torrents1 of TWD.
1 Note: A torrent might contain more than one episode of TWD
What sets U.S. TWD fans apart from the crowd?
The U.S. fan base of “The Walking Dead” shares some consumption behavior traits with Chinese and Brazilian fans, who were last season’s most loyal followers.
The U.S. crowd, for example, has a fairly distinct taste in entertainment, according to the other movies and series these TWD file sharers watched. Almost half of them were sharing the same movies (46.84%) or series (42.84%) at the time. On the other hand, only one in every six Chinese file sharer showed such homogenous behavior, which indicates a more varied taste among TWD fans in the Middle Kingdom.
The most popular games among fans of TWD in the U.S. were mostly RPGs like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or shooter games like Grand Theft Auto V and Minecraft, as well as simulators like Sims 4 and Euro Truck Simulator 2. For the most part, U.S. TWD fans’ taste in games is fairly consistent with the rest of the file sharers in the country. But surprisingly, we didn’t find any zombie stories within the top 10 of their most shared games, even though “Resident Evil 7: biohazard” was the ninth most popular game in the United States at the time.
The most popular music artist and long-term No. 1 Major Lazer, for instance, ranked first among Brazilian TWD fans as well as on the general Brazilian chart ranking, but in the U.S. and China, they didn’t make it onto the list of top 50 music artists for TWD fans at all! Nevertheless, the U.S. fan base seems to be way more into music than Brazil or China. After all, the 10 most sought-after music artists were shared by 18.03% of TWD fans, compared with 6.01% in Brazil and 5.28% in during the release window of Season 7.
RUN-OF-THE-MILL SERIES JUNKIES OR PICKY ZOMBIE ADDICTS?
Within each specific country, TWD fans do differ significantly in some ways. As mentioned above, the target group in China shared 20% of other top series, while the U.S. shared 43% – indicating that a good portion of those in the U.S. are watching the same series as their fellow TWD fans. In fact, they aren’t just finding common ground on TWD and one other show – their tastes overlap on several other series. So, yes, we can safely say that TWD fans (at least those in the U.S.) are generally fans of TV series and if you were to sit two of them on a couch together, they wouldn’t have much trouble agreeing on what to watch. Zombie movies and games did not take up a significant chunk of TWD file sharers’ preferences in the United States. Their favorite movies and series spanned all categories – from action and thrillers to drama and comedy. Remember, Resident Evil 7: biohazard only made it to spot 35 on the list of most-shared games from within our subset. It seems, then, that this zombie fever takes a very specific form in TWD fans, and it doesn’t necessarily make them more susceptible to other zombie content, whether it be a movie, TV show or game.
Looking at the sample of U.S. TWD fans active around the time the first part of Season 6 was on air, the TWD prequel piqued the curiosity of 31.50% of users who shared files from the original series. However, this activity started to decline during the mid-season break and the second part of Season 6. During the TWD season break (between Season 6 and 7) and triggered by the release of “Fear the Walking Dead” Season 2, file-sharing activity picked back up again. During this time, the percentage of P2P users sharing both TWD and its prequel reached an all-time high at 42.20%.
During the latest season of the zombie series, the trend developed in the opposite direction, and “Fear the Walking Dead” became more interesting to TWD fans toward the end of Season 7. That also means that the total number of parallel viewers increased. If you think about it, this is actually quite surprising, given that the number of fans sharing episodes of “Fear the Walking Dead” declined significantly from about 685,000 to about 411,000 on average. There are also significant differences within the top fan countries for “The Walking Dead” – the prequel appears to be much more interesting to U.S. TWD fans (36.77% also shared FTWD) than to fans in Brazil (18.33%) or China (8.96%), which is ultimately where the biggest fan bases call home.