Just because interest was waning in the original AMC series doesn’t mean the rest of the ”TWD“ universe won’t find an audience
“The Walking Dead” has become a flagship series for AMC and one of the most successful shows on TV. With a global appeal and a back catalog of 10 previous seasons, the show has also helped fuel streaming platforms around the world who have licensed the rights to the show. However, demand for the 11th and final season failed to reach the highs of other recent seasons, according to Parrot Analytics‘ data, which takes into account consumer research, streaming, downloads and social media, among other engagement.
AMC’s decision to wrap up the show after eleven seasons and focus on developing the franchise through spinoffs looks like a savvy move.
Season 9 of “The Walking Dead” had the most successful premiere of the past five years, when global demand for the show peaked at 96 times the average show demand in its first week. The 10th season of the show saw some of its highest levels of demand globally in March and April of 2020, benefitting from what was many people’s first experience with pandemic-era lockdowns.
While demand for the show for most of its 11th season may have not reached the peaks of previous seasons, it remained fairly high as fans around the world returned each week to see how the long-running series would wrap up. The show still managed to end on a high note ranking as the No. 1 most in-demand show globally for four days after its finale with demand peaking at 112.7 times the average series demand on Nov. 22.
The best days of “The Walking Dead” may have been behind it but the franchise’s longest running spinoff so far, “Fear the Walking Dead,” is still in its prime, showing consistent growth in demand with each successive season. Its most recent seventh season averaged 29.3 times the average series demand in its first 30 days and peaked at 42 times. It should be noted that this is still well below the level of demand that the original series was able to attract. With an eighth season currently in production, it remains to be seen if “Fear the Walking Dead” will become a new anchor for fans of the franchise or if we can expect to see demand for the franchise fragmented across multiple spinoff series going forward.
The future of “The Walking Dead” franchise will lie with its numerous spinoffs. In addition to the original series and “Fear the Walking Dead,” the “TWD” universe currently consists of “Tales of the Walking Dead,” an anthology spinoff that premiered in August, and “The Walking Dead: World Beyond,” a limited series that wrapped up its two-season run last year.
There are also three planned spinoffs that have been announced: “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon” (starring Norman Reedus), “The Walking Dead: Dead City” (starring Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and a currently untitled series featuring the characters Rick and Michonne from the original series (Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira).
To get a sense of how receptive audiences might be to these new series, we can look at what audience demand currently is for their leads. Most of the actors set to star on upcoming spinoffs already had an outstanding level of demand, driven by existing fans from their roles on the original series. Morgan (29.9 times the average talent demand) just beat out Reedus (29.3 times) with slightly higher demand during the final stretch of “TWD” — a good sign for the upcoming “Dead City.” Gurira’s demand surged during the final episodes of “TWD” and peaked at 46 times. Her increased audience demand should be a boost to the untitled series on which she’s set to star on alongside Lincoln.
With a strong universe at its core built up over many years, the growing “Walking Dead” franchise is built on a solid foundation. Existing spinoffs like “Fear the Walking Dead” have already been successful and continue to capture more audience attention. High demand for the leads of upcoming spinoff series is just one more sign that there is still room for this franchise to grow.
Parrot Analytics is the industry leader in global audience demand measurement. The company measures global supply and demand for entertainment, capturing over 2 billion audiences expressing demand for content and talent in over 100 languages, across all platforms, in 200+ countries. Parrot Analytics' partners use this knowledge to help better understand global supply and demand across all platforms to value content and talent, drive better production, distribution, acquisition and marketing decisions, as well as increase D2C growth and retention. For more information, see www.parrotanalytics.com.