Ratings drop for The Walking Dead isn’t anything to worry about

Lindsey Garrett as Mara - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 2 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Lindsey Garrett as Mara - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 2 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

Live views are down for AMC’s The Walking Dead, but extended views are high and the show’s ratings are nothing to worry about. The show is still number one.

The Walking Dead’s live views have dropped. The season 8 premiere “Mercy” had 11.4 million live views, which is low for The Walking Dead. But once the Live+3 views were counted the show added another 3.5 million views to that total bringing the views for the season premiere to about 15 million.

The live views for the second episode of season 8 of The Walking Dead, “The Damned”, were also low. This episode has 8.9 million live views. But judging by the extended views for “Mercy” and the extended views that the show picked up consistently throughout season 7 it’s likely the show will pick up several million more views in Live+3.

But don’t get thrown by the drop in views. The Walking Dead is still millions of views ahead of the closest competition. The Walking Dead is still the most popular show on cable. And while some outlets are predicting the imminent demise of the show based on falling ratings there’s no reason to worry. The Walking Dead’s ratings are fine.

Why Views Are Dropping

It’s a bit misleading when sites try to draw a correlation between dropping views and the quality of the show. Sure, some fans will stop watching each year. Some fans don’t like the current storyline. Others don’t watch anymore because their favorite character was killed off. That’s going to happen to any show.

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But the large drop in live views isn’t because of expected fan drop-off. It has a lot more to do with the plummeting rates of cable subscribers than with the direction that the show is going in. More than a million cable subscribers per year are dropping their subscriptions and watching streaming services instead.

Other fans record The Walking Dead on DVR and watch it later either to avoid the commercials or because they just can’t watch it on Sunday nights. That’s why the Live+3 ratings are a much more accurate measure of the popularity of the show.

What Are Live+3 Ratings?

Live+3 ratings count the live views that a show gets plus the streaming and on-demand views of that show over the next three days. Live+7 ratings count the live views plus the streaming and on-demand views for the week following the episode.

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The days of people planning their week around watching an episode of television are over. Now people watch throughout the week. So live views are just not a good way to measure the popularity of a TV show anymore. The Walking Dead’s reign over cable TV isn’t in any danger.