Could ‘Outlander’ season 3 crack a new viewer threshold?

Outlander -In honor of “Outlander” being voted the Show of the Year — and also in preparation for the third season of the show premiering a little bit later this year — we’re going to spend a little bit of time in the weeks ahead discussing further topics related to the show.

Specifically today, we want to touch on some matters when it comes to the ratings. Is the show already renewed through season 4? Sure, and we also know that it is hard to pin down its figures via traditional means given that only a percentage of its audience chooses to watch the series live. Many people watch early via the app, watch later on their DVR, or via a variety of other methods.

Yet, we do still like to look at live numbers as a barometer for popularity, especially when it comes to the community-building aspect of the show. There’s just something about being able to watch and discuss a TV show at the same time as many of your friends. This is why we’ve never loved the binge-watching model as much as many other people; it gives you something that you want, but in the process it also takes something away from you.

For those wondering, to date the biggest audience the show’s received for a new episode is 1.46 million viewers live for the season 2 premiere. Typically, the show tends to average just over a million viewers in the live+same day measurement, which is very good for a network like Starz with a smaller subscriber base compared to most cable.

What are the expectations moving forward? We don’t think anyone over at the network is thinking that a move from Saturdays to Sunday is suddenly going to get the show three million viewers weekly, but a rise to around 1.5 million a week would not be altogether shocking. There are simply more viewers available live on Sundays, and the recent third season of “Power” (which improved more than 50% in total viewers versus season 2) was proof that such a move can be extremely lucrative. Thanks to “Game of Thrones” moving to summer, “Outlander” doesn’t even have to worry about that all that much.

The biggest thing to remember here with “Outlander,” like any other show, is that there is such a big percentage of the audience that we cannot calculate in advance. We can predict the loyal fans’ behavior, since they’ll support the show to the ends of the earth and watch no matter when it’s one. However, can this new timeslot convince some of the millions of people who previously recorded the show / watched via the app or On-Demand to watch it live? Casual viewership will be the big question moving forward.

In the end, we are aware that for “Outlander,” live ratings don’t matter so much in comparison to total consolidated viewers, and the number of subscribers that the show brings to Starz. Yet, with this information being the sort that is most readily available, we do think there is value in being able to produce big numbers here for the sake of drawing headlines and bringing more attention to the show. The bigger that the show’s following becomes, the more rewarding it could potentially be for fans down the line since it offers up chances to do more and more with the brand.

Do you have any ratings expectations for the show’s third season? Let us know below! Meanwhile, head over here to see a fun New Year’s greeting via the stars in Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe. (Photo: Starz.)

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