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
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).
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.
Movie studios in general turned out in force for the premiere, leading the industry list for spend.
It’s worth noting that last season, studios spent the most out of any industry, followed by wireless companies and auto makers.
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).
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%).
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).
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.