Does the Outlander season 3 premiere need to set a ratings record?

OutlanderWhile we have spoken here and there over time about Outlander ratings in a broader sense, for the sake of this article today, we want to hone in on something specific.

Everything within today’s piece revolves around a specific question: Does the show need to set some sort of ratings record for the upcoming premiere episode? What could come out of that? Are there significant rewards that Starz could generate from such a milestone?

The biggest thing at the moment to note here comes via the schedule: Starz is giving the series every chance it can to shatter the previous ratings record, which is around 1.457 million viewers for the season 2 premiere. Outlander this year is airing on Sunday nights for the first time, and it’s also airing at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, a time that won’t force it to go up against The Walking Dead in October. It also is early enough that serious NFL fans can watch it and still catch the majority of the Sunday Night Football game on NBC.

We’ve said in the past that our hope is to see the show cross 1.5 million, given that this would be a great deal of validation to the network for all of the hard work that they’ve put into the show. While we’ve complained about many networks out there failing to properly promote their shows, it’s hard to say that here. Starz has done a tremendous job over time promoting Outlander. It had its own booth at San Diego Comic-Con, it’s had multiple magazine covers, it’s been given prime network real estate, and we imagine that Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe are going to get some great placement on various talk shows later this year.

Setting a new premiere record could mean an earlier season 5 renewal or expanded opportunities to do more with the show or the franchise. Viewership ultimately makes the world go round; while Starz may technically be subscriber-based more so than anything, posting big viewer totals often goes hand in hand with that. Look at Game of Thrones; its big viewer totals are making it so that HBO can develop many proposed spin-offs all at one time.

What’s the Starz premiere record?

For those curious, we looked that up for this article — the Power season 3 premiere, which generated 2.258 million viewers more than a year ago. This is a super-ambitious goal for Outlander given that it hasn’t come close to that, and you also have to remember that all of the viewership figures noted in this article to date are live+same-day numbers released traditional Nielsen ratings metrics. They are the people watching television at the time the show is on. It doesn’t include a lot of over-the-top streaming information or live+3 data. It should prove interesting to learn what the Outlander premiere numbers are with all of that included, but that’s a different discussion for a different day.

We know it’s a little old-school to focus so specifically on live+same-day numbers and premiere ratings records, but these are still the viewing figures that draw the headlines in the trade publications … and we definitely want Outlander to get all of the headlines that it can.

Want to get some other news when it comes to Outlander?

Then be sure to head over to the link here! That’s where you can get some additional news on the show, including our recent discussion about the friendship between Jamie Fraser and Lord John Grey. (Photo: Starz.)

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