'American Horror Story: Cult' (Credit: Frank Ockenfels/FX)

Fans and Brands Gear Up for Another Spine-Tingling Season of ‘American Horror Story’

Making sense of data about the FX hit from Canvs, iSpot.tv and Inscape

FX’s hit horror anthology series came back for a seventh season on Sept. 5, this time with the name American Horror Story: Cult. Each season the show follows a different storyline and characters (although the cast has largely remained the same year after year). With Cult, the producers abandoned supernatural elements that have played out in previous seasons and instead gone full-on creepy with episodes full of scary clowns. Fans have been riveted to their screens for the first two installments.

According to Canvs, the emotion analytics company, there have been 89,336 Emotional Reactions (ERs) around Cult so far. The most prevalent feelings expressed by viewers have been excitement (14.4%), craziness (14.3%), love (14.1%) and fear (9%). This is noteworthy because often with TV shows, love consistently snags the top spot (people love to express love for the shows they love).

Evan Peters (portraying the character Kai Anderson) has been the most-mentioned actor of the first two episodes, followed by Sarah Paulson (who plays Ally Mayfair-Richards). “Clowns” is the fifth most-used term when discussing the show, while Twisty, the name of one of the clowns, is the seventh. Donald Trump also gets a share of call-outs because Cult opens on election night 2016.

According to iSpot.tv, the attention and conversion analytics platform for TV advertising, 46 brands advertised during the first two episodes, running 86 spots a total of 334 times and spending an estimated $2.5 million. While Taco Bell is the top individual spender so far, auto makers overall have deployed the biggest budgets.


Taco Bell also scored big when it came to viewer attention with an iSpot Attention Index of 129, meaning that its Cult ads had 29% fewer interruptions than the average commercial (interruptions include changing the channel, pulling up the guide, fast-forwarding or turning off the TV). Spots from Blue Moon and Michelob performed even better with indices of 154 and 149, respectively.

It's a testament to how obsessed fans are with Cult that, according to Inscape.tv, an analytics company with live viewing data from 7 million smart TV screens and devices, the programming viewers were most likely to watch before and after the latest episode was, yes, Cult. Meaning that in addition to some viewers time-shifting, others were binge-watching and still others were rewatching the latest episode (no doubt to try to make sense of it).

American Horror Story has already been renewed for an eighth and ninth season, so fans can sit back and enjoy getting the wits scared out of them for at least two more years.