The Walking Dead & Fear The Walking Dead: How Zombies are Driving Engagement for AMC

Starting with its first foray into scripted programming with the debut of Mad Men in 2007, AMC has shed its classic movie focus and has become known for producing popular series that draw big crowds. Its post-apocalyptic zombie hit,The Walking Dead, is no exception, having earned numerous nominations and awards including the Golden Globes, the Primetime Emmys and The Critics Choice Awards.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the new Walking Dead prequel, Fear The Walking Dead, has also garnered a strong following, to the point that it was dubbed the highest-rated first season of any cable series by Variety.

Since new seasons of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead premiered within two months of one another, we were interested to see how the shows stack up in terms of generating spend and engagement for AMC. We compared The Walking Dead’s sixth season so far with season one of Fear the Walking Dead and here’s what we found:

The Walking Dead Costs More, But Gets Results

As one might expect, the original undead drama is still bringing in the bigger bucks. Ads during The Walking Dead cost an estimated 35% more for a 30 second spot than on Fear the Walking Dead. As a result, The Walking Dead saw an estimated 4 million more in ad spend for its premiere and has continued to see an average 6 million more per episode than Fear the Walking Dead.

 When comparing the shows on performance, The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead have both proven excellent at generating engagement for their advertisers. They have continually landed at the top of our performance charts for engagement by show and have both helped AMC rise to the top of the charts for engagement by network. Despite the stiff competition of the fall lineup and NFL Football, The Walking Dead still makes it into the top five performing shows each week. And, for its own part, Fear the Walking Dead averages just 2.15% less in Digital Share of Voice* than The Walking Dead, and even took the number one performance spot on its air date over NFL pre-season.

Search and Social Actions by Show


But when you dig deeper and look at their search and social action numbers by show, The Walking Dead is still undeniably the bigger-hitter. The Walking Dead’s season six opener earned 47% more search and social actions than Fear the Walking Dead’s. This is no surprise as The Walking Dead is an established show with a strong fan following, but it does give some indication as to where Fear the Walking Dead is likely headed. If it follows in its predecessor’s footsteps, AMC will soon have two engagement juggernauts on its hands.

AMC Comes Out on Top

Fear the Walking Dead is AMC’s second successful spinoff this year with Breaking Bad’s Better Call Saul also debuting to critical acclaim. History has proven that making a successful spinoff is no easy feat; for every Frasier there’s the Friends spinoff Joey. The fact that AMC has managed to get two off the ground in one year is nothing short of incredible. And, with such a promising start and the legacy of the original Walking Dead behind it, we can expect that Fear the Walking Dead is only going to see more success.

*Digital Share of Voice is a metric that measures the percent of online engagement received compared to others for a selected category.

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