Revisiting our Outlander season 3 ratings expectations

Outlander season 3 ratings expectationsWhy revisit some of our original Outlander season 3 ratings expectations? It’s been months since we first discussed it, and there are some changes at hand.

We’ve said previously that our expectations for the show’s upcoming September premiere are to see it set a new series record for the show in total viewers, and that it could get close to the 2 million mark in live+same day viewers. Now, we’re starting to temper that expectations slightly, but for some different reasons than you would first expect.

The thought of the Outlander premiere not making that ratings threshold actually has nothing to do with the number of people watching and more to do with the way in which people are watching. When we first put that projection on the table, the assumption wasn’t necessarily that Starz would keep making their episodes available in advance at midnight. That expectation has clearly changed courtesy of what we’ve seen with Power, The White Princess, and American Gods. Releasing episodes early via the app is very much the new norm for Starz, and something that will maintain itself most likely for when Outlander airs.

If you anticipate that the vast majority of Outlander super-fans are going to wait to watch the episode until its linear launch on Starz week after week, you don’t know the enthusiasm of this base! Maybe some will still watch the episode “live” when it airs, but others with access to the app are hitting it up early and that’s almost a guarantee. The original live+same day ratings will barely hold a candle to the total numbers that are released including all platforms.

Let’s put this in further perspective

The season 4 premiere of Power on Sunday ended up generating almost 1.7 million viewers — it wasn’t the most-watched episode of the show ever, but it was up against the BET Awards. When you include viewership from repeats and all streams on the day, close to 3.3 million viewers watched. That’s almost double the original number.

Outlander is still a little bit of an unknown given that it hasn’t aired on a Sunday night before, but we anticipate its viewership to be relatively close to the Power numbers when you factor everything in. We honestly wouldn’t be shocked to see its premiere around 1.5 million, but then around 3.1 million when you factor in all of the streams / repeat airings. This is an era where fewer and fewer people are watching live, and the demand to end the Droughlander is more extreme than ever.

Note that these expectations are certainly modest, to put it mildly. Do we think there are scenarios where the show passes 4 million for the premiere across all platforms? Certainly, given that the show’s been off of the air more than a year and, in theory, that’s plenty of time for more viewers to catch up and join the beautiful extended family of viewers.

What are your expectations?

Let us know now in the attached comments!

Also, take a look at some of our other recent Outlander discussion pieces, including one on whether or not we should see old episodes migrate their way onto Hulu in the future. (Photo: Starz.)

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!