Fans and Brands Rise Up for Season Eight of ‘The Walking Dead’

With data from Inscape, iSpot and Canvs
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Rick and his crew returned Sunday night in the much-anticipated season eight premiere of AMC’s hit The Walking Dead. Although the walkers (aka zombies) still play a role in the series, it seems like this season’s focus will be more on a battle between good and evil of the living kind — Rick and pals up against Negan and the Saviors.

B&C worked with Inscape.tv, the TV data company with glass-level information from 7 million smart TV screens and devices, to see what viewership looked like during the premiere. There’s also brand and advertising data below courtesy of iSpot.tv, and a look at fans’ emotional reactions from Canvs

The Walking Dead premiere was one of the most-watched pieces of programming Sunday night (NFL football was tops, of course), and, notably, viewership kept rising as the episode progressed (a lot of shows see drop-off during their linear broadcast).

Related: AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ Return Slays Social Media

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Many people who watched the premiere had also been catching up on the back-to-back episodes from previous seasons that AMC was airing all day. And, unsurprisingly, a good chunk of fans stuck around after the episode’s conclusion to watch the official aftershow, Talking Dead (although some switched over to, you guessed it, the NFL game).

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When it came to advertising during TWD season premiere, 28 brands ran 35 spots 39 times with an estimated spend of $10.8 million. Xbox and Paramount Pictures lead the way, tied for the biggest budgets of the night.

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Movie studios in general turned out in force for the premiere, leading the industry list for spend.

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It’s worth noting that last season, studios spent the most out of any industry, followed by wireless companies and auto makers.

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When it came to attention, Captain Morgan’s fun commercial chock-full of assorted captains scored the highest iSpot Attention Index (159), with 59% fewer interruptions vs. the average commercial (interruptions include changing the channel, pulling up the guide, fast-forwarding or turning off the TV).

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Canvs, the emotion measurement company, detected 59,403 Emotional Reactions (ERs) on social media around the premiere. As you’d expect, comments expressing love were most frequent, appearing in 20.6% of ERs, followed by mentions of excitement (19.9%) and craziness (9.8%).

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Characters from the show were a huge driving force in conversation, with four out of the top five most-mentioned terms being names. Unsurprisingly, Rick (portrayed by Andrew Lincoln) led the way, followed by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Gregory (Xander Berkeley).

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After seven seasons and 100 episodes, The Walking Dead remains a huge hit for AMC. Will the eighth season keep delivering for fans? Stay tuned.

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