The Walking Dead opened its eighth season to the promise of war and hopefully a new change of pants. What it had in dramatic tension, it lacked in viewership: The ratings — 11.4 million total viewers, compared to the Season 5 high of 17 million viewers — were rather soft for the zombie show. But those aren’t the only numbers people are tracking.
According to Variety, the show isn’t as pirated as heavily as it usually is. The Walking Dead was globally downloaded 42 percent less than it was for the premiere of Season 7, a mere 774,685 users worldwide, as opposed to last year’s 1.33 million.
However, this may not reflect the amount of downloading that’s taking place across the internet: Tracking firm Tecxipio only follows BitTorrent networks, not streaming-video sites, which are becoming increasingly popular with pirates.
In addition, AMC has actively worked to prevent piracy by releasing the show in 125 countries less than 24 hours after its U.S. airtime — as well as actively tracking down the source of pirated copies of the show, with digital watermarks that act as fingerprints for AMC to identity.
So take heart (and brains), Walking Dead fans. With 11.4 million viewers as a low, the show isn’t shuffling off anywhere.