The horror genre is a category of entertainment that aims to scare, shock, surprise, and sometimes repulse the viewer - hence it has often been assumed that it is not for everyone. While some enjoy the idea of having these kinds of feelings being evoked in them, others avoid the theme at all costs. However, with The Walking Dead and Stranger Things being the most in-demand shows of 2018, it could be argued that the horror genre might not just be a niche - at least not for today’s viewer. This article will explore the global demand for the horror genre and possible reasons for its success with the wider audience of today.
Demand for Horror-Themed TV Shows
The chart below depicts the most in demand shows worldwide as of this month. A number of the shows listed, all apart from Ted Lasso and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, have fantasy and thriller aspects to them. This could be a reflection of what kinds of themes the global audience is interested in today. What is also interesting to note is that four out of the ten shows on this list are within the horror genre specifically - The Walking Dead, Attack on Titan, Lucifer, and Stranger Things. This could indicate growth in the appreciation for horror themed shows. However, it could also be due to some of the shows themselves, having been tailored to a broader audience through the incorporation of other genres.
With 69.7 times more demand this month than the average show worldwide, The Walking Dead is easily the most in-demand show within the horror genre at the moment. The below chart shows the top shows specifically within the horror genre. As listed above, Attack on Titan, with 58.6 times more global demand than the average show, Lucifer, with 54.2 times more demand, and Stranger Things, with 52.1 times more demand, are within the top ten most in demand shows in the world right now. Other shows within the genre that hold an exceptional level of demand are American Horror Story, with 45.1 times more global demand than the average show, and Supernatural, with 34.1 times the average global demand.
The age of the show and number of seasons is a common factor that is interesting to consider when looking at the above chart. Many of the shows listed were aired a number of years ago, and hold a fair amount of seasons under their belt. Supernatural, with a completed fifteen seasons, is the oldest of these - having been originally aired in 2005. Another example is American Horror Story. More traditional in the sense of the horror genre, the show is currently on its tenth season and was first released in 2011. The number of seasons available could definitely be an important factor in regard to the show’s popularity, particularly with genres such as horror, thriller, mystery, and drama. The more episodes a show has, the more opportunity to binge watch - a welcome activity for a suspense-obsessed audience.
The Walking Dead
Another well-established show within the horror genre is The Walking Dead. Having been originally released in 2010, the show is currently on its eleventh and final season. While it is coming to its end, the zombie-themed series is on track to go out with a memorable bang.
As mentioned earlier, The Walking Dead has an exceptional amount of global demand. Having been featured in the 2022 edition of the Guinness World Records as the most in-demand comic adaption in the world, with 62 times more global demand than the average show between March 2020 and February 2021, the show is clearly making quite an impact. With this being one of the first records evidenced by true global demand, it has been noted by Adriana Cisneros, Cisneros Media Distribution CEO, and board member of Parrot Analytics, that such an achievement is a reflection of the radical consumption of content due to diverse technology.
Another obvious indication of this is its level of travelability. The chart below shows that The Walking Dead has achieved 107.7 times more travelability than the average show worldwide. This means that the show is exceptionally popular in not only its home market, but in other nations as well.
The chart below shows The Walking Dead’s high level of demand around the world. The United States, with 49.3 times more demand than the average show, and the United Kingdom, with 33 times more demand than the average show, are the nations are at the top of this list. The number of countries with an outstanding level of demand is very high, which has definitely made an impact on the show’s overall level of travelability. This is a notable achievement as it does not only appeal to those within its culture of origin.
The show’s franchisability is also an interesting point to consider. Its spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead, released in 2015, is doing outstandingly well at the moment. It is the ninth most in-demand show within the horror genre, having 23.5 times more global demand than the average show. As well as another spinoff series, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, the franchise also boasts a number of video games, web series, novels, and comic books. Additionally, there has been announcement of a film adaptation in the works.
As well as its ability to franchise, another possible reason for the show’s success is its inclusion of other genres. With action, drama, romance, and humor themes incorporated into the storyline, the show can likely appeal to those outside of the general fanbase for the horror genre. Another show that does multi-genre storytelling rather well is Stranger Things, which incorporates themes of comedy, mystery, and relatability in regard to the growing pains of adolescence. This has helped the show reach many who may not have watched shows that are more heavily within the horror genre, such as American Horror Story.
New Releases in the Horror Genre
While a large amount of seasons and episodes are an advantage that more established shows within the horror genre have, hence why they have gained a large amount of traction over the years, it is also interesting to look at the demand for newer shows in the genre.
The below chart shows the most in-demand shows within the horror genre that have been released within the past three years. What We Do in the Shadows, released in 2019, is at the top of this list with 26 times more demand than the average show worldwide. The Emmy nominated mockumentary show, based on the 2014 film with the same name, follows the hilarious lives of four vampires living together in Staten Island, New York. Now in its third season, the show has been referred to by a number of media outlets as TV’s funniest show. As well as the familiarity from the original film, the high demand for the show could also be due to the show’s interweaving of both horror and comedy themes - making it appealing to a wider audience than just that of the horror fanbase.
All new releases listed in the above chart sit within the outstanding range of demand, also. This is an intriguing point to note as it speaks to the level of demand for the genre as a whole. The high and growing demand for horror shows is not just limited to that of the more established series, unlike other genres that garner most demand from longer-running such, as the children’s genre. Perhaps this itself indicates the global audience’s appreciation of horror and thriller, even pointing towards the zeitgeist of entertainment today.
The horror genre on its own might only be suited to audiences with an acquired taste. It could then be said that such storylines that come under the genre would perhaps be better received by the wider audience if other genres were weaved in. The Walking Dead and Stranger Things, two shows that have reached record levels of demand, appear to do this rather well. Could it be that the inclusion of ‘something for everyone’ has become a recipe for success? It is clear, though, that the demand for the horror genre, as well as shows that incorporate horror themes, is outstandingly high around the world at this present time. With The Walking Dead ending with its final season this year, it will be interesting to see which, if any, show might take its place.