Kingdom: Global Events Correlate with Show Awareness

Cover image for Kingdom: Global Events Correlate with Show Awareness
Photo of Hanna Kahlert
by Hanna Kahlert

From George Romero’s 1968 Night of the Living Dead to the more recent Walking Dead, to even Game of Thrones’ whitewalkers, zombies have been a cultural zeitgeist metaphorically teasing at our inner fears about humanity at large for decades.

It comes as no surprise that consumers watch what is relevant to them. Indeed, the old truism that there are only seven storylines and a handful of character archetypes to tell them about, reframed in each iteration in a context meaningful to the times, feeds into our collective need for identifiable stories to make sense of the world around us.

Enter the global pandemic. Not only do consumers now have a government-issued imperative to stay home, thus lending to digital-based entertainment behaviours like binge-watching, but they have a new zeitgeist to be fascinated by: the spread of disease.

Already we are seeing the emergence of resultant new quirks of behaviour. Kingdom, a two-season series first aired in 2019, is a zombie thriller set in Korea’s medieval Joseon dynasty, wherein a crown prince is sent on a suicide mission to investigate a ‘mysterious outbreak’. Over the past week the show has experienced a huge surge of Wikipedia searches (source: MIDiA Index). As of March 16th, it was the second-most searched tracked show on Wikipedia at 32,000 searches (US), just below Westworld at 38,000 – after a peak on March 14th with 52,000 pageviews.

[[Given that Kingdom’s average daily Wikipedia views are only 6,800, this means a huge surge in interest directly correlates with panic about the current global pandemic.

Now, whether Netflix’s algorithms determined the show was topical to promote on home pages over the last week given global events, or whether there was a promotional push done intentionally by the show owners to capitalise on it, is for them to know. Nevertheless, the truth remains: consumers will view and watch what is relevant to them, meaning that any real trend opens opportunities for creators and storytellers to promote their content to receptive people trying to make sense of the events dictating their lives.

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