The Walking Dead’s ratings were low in season 7 but AMC knows why

Negan - The Walking Dead, AMC
Negan - The Walking Dead, AMC /

The Walking Dead’s season 7 ratings were low but that doesn’t mean the show isn’t as popular as ever. Cable subscriptions have dropped in record numbers in the last two years.

The Walking Dead’s live view ratings did drop significantly in season 7. But, the drop in live views was something that cable shows experienced across the board in 2016 and 2017. AMC has consistently backed the show and continues to believe in the long-range viability of The Walking Dead universe.

The live ratings for the show in season 7 averaged about 11 million, except for the season premiere. The season premiere “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” had the highest live view count of the season. Tens of millions of fans tuned in to see who fell to Lucille.

Many critics pointed to the many bottle episodes of season 7 as the reason for the lack of live views. Bottle episodes that focus on just one or two characters are divisive. Some fans really like the extra character development but others find them a little dull.

But despite being a little heavy on bottle episodes season 7 ratings consistently rose in extended views. At the end of the season each episode had an average of around 15 million after Live+3 and Live+7 views were counted. Streaming views and DVR views also added to the big jump in views.

The Walking Dead Is Here To Stay

While critics were quick to proclaim that the show has started a death spiral because of the low live views AMC has never wavered in its support of the show and The Walking Dead franchise. Fear The Walking Dead’s new season starts in just a couple weeks and the show has already been picked up for another season. Additionally, The Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple will be joining Fear The Walking Dead.

AMC has said that they fully support the franchise and the mothership show The Walking Dead. Because there is such a huge amount of source material from the comics and there are stories to tell within The Walking Dead umbrella they predict the show could go on for decades. Fans are totally on board with that.

It’s Not Just The Walking Dead

The main reason why the live views of the show have dropped has nothing to do with The Walking Dead or with AMC. AMC execs know that the cable industry as a whole is suffering. The rise of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu and their award winning original content is wreaking havoc on cable in general.

In the second quarter of 2016 cable subscriptions dropped in record numbers. According to Ars Technica the biggest cable providers in the country lost more than 665,000 subscribers in just the second quarter of 2016.

That trend has continued and more and more people are dropping cable entirely. Instead they are turning to streaming services and services like Sling TV or Amazon Channels. Using streaming services they can still see their favorite shows but for a fraction of the cost of a cable subscription.

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The Walking Dead Is Still Number One

So there’s no need to panic The Walking Dead fans. The show’s ratings are still the highest on cable TV and that won’t change anytime soon. Showrunner Scott Gimple has promised that season 8 will “melt people’s minds”. There’s going to be a lot more action as the communities enter all out war.