The Shifting Television Paradigm
Via the NYT: At AMC, Zombies Topple Network TV comes some pretty amazing numbers:
During its run last fall, “The Walking Dead” was the highest-rated show among viewers 18 to 49, the most-sought age group, with a bigger audience than network winners like “The Big Bang Theory,” “American Idol,” “The Voice” and “Modern Family.”
Now the zombies are back for the second half of the show’s third season, and they continue to gnaw on everything in their path, including the broadcast networks’ historical claim to being the only place to find a mass audience. Three weeks ago, the zombies owned Sunday night, attracting 7.7 million viewers in the 18 to 49 range, more than any broadcast show in the land.
It gets better (or worse, if you are a network). AMC has a spinoff chat show about zombies called “The Talking Dead,” and even that is making waves. That same Sunday three weeks ago, “The Talking Dead” drew almost 2.8 million viewers ages 18 to 49, trumping NBC not just for the night, but for all of February.
In regards to the role of Netflix:
AMC, along with its studio partners, has always made sure that if someone wants to catch up with America’s favorite zombies, or “Breaking Bad” or “Mad Men,” two of its other hits, then past seasons are readily available — on demand, on Netflix or on iTunes. As a result, the audience for “The Walking Dead” is up 51 percent overall last year, and it is one of the most consistently talked about shows on social media.
This is exactly how I got into both The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad and have recently watched the first few episode of Mad Men. Heck, I was so invested in Breaking Bad that I bought the first half of season 5 on iTunes (and I don’t purchase a lot of TV episodes). If I lacked this method of getting into these shows, I would never have become a viewer.
See, also, Erik Kain at Forbes: How Technology Is Making ‘The Walking Dead’ Television’s Most Popular Show.