Key Demographic Has Zombies on the Brain

Jason Galanis has always tried to take a top down approach to investing because I believe the macro picture can change everything.

America has been bitten and the zombie epidemic is spreading; well at least through the airwaves among primetime viewership. The season finale of The Walking Dead this past Sunday raked in an average of 15.7 million viewers. Among all episodes to date, Sunday's finale ranks third, behind only the season 4 premiere last fall (16.11 million) and the show's mid-season return on Feb. 9 (15.76 million).

While the sheer number of viewers is staggering, what is even more impressive is that 65% of these viewers are in the extremely important 18-49 year-old key demographic. With over 10 million views in this key demographic, AMC is able to charge much more for commercials than a similarly viewed show without such support in this key age group for advertisers.

To give a recent example of the power of this young demographic, Friends was able to charge almost three times as much per commercial as Murder, She Wrote. This is despite their strikingly similar total viewership and number of seasons on the air. The Walking Dead looks to parlay its recent successes into much higher ad revenues next year.

Jason Galanis has always tried to take a top down approach to investing because I believe the macro picture can change everything. That does not mean I do not believe in bottom up analysis; a company run well can survive in any weather. Is that true of relationships as well? In particular the supposed "special" relationship enjoyed between the United States and the UK. I believe there is a macro economic event playing out right now that may give us the clue.