The latest season of “The Walking Dead” has stumbled, zombie-like, to a rocky start — among both TV viewers and internet pirates.
Global piracy of Sunday’s premiere of “Walking Dead” season 8 was 42% lower than season 7 last year, comparing the one-day period after the official first airing on AMC, according to piracy-tracking firm Tecxipio. That comes as the show notched its lowest-rated premiere in five years in the U.S.
While studios and networks would normally welcome drops in piracy activity, it also potentially reflects “The Walking Dead”‘s declining popularity.
“The Walking Dead” season 8 premiere episode, “Mercy,” was illegally downloaded by 774,685 users worldwide, compared with 1.33 million copies poached for the last season’s debut, Tecxipio’s analysis found. The number of digital pirates accessing the episode in the top two countries historically for “Walking Dead” piracy — the U.S. and Brazil — declined by nearly 50% each, according to Tecxipio.