Why Outlander season 4 episode 5 could be highest-rated this season

OutlanderAs we start to think about the Outlander season 4 episode 5 ratings, we think that there’s a case to be made for it as the biggest episode of 2018. Why is that? Well, much of it starts with the way in which this episode was promoted.

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One of the big trends that we’ve seen over time when it comes to ratings is simply this: If you are delivering a major event, there’s a good chance more people are going to watch you. Think it does feel in some ways like common sense, we do very much think it’s still worth reiterating. The biggest episode ever for the series (at least in live ratings) was the big Print Shop reunion “A. Malcolm,” and we don’t think that this was any coincidence. This was an opportunity for viewers out there to see one of the most significant moments of Jamie and Claire’s journey, and viewers responded to both that and all of the promotion around it.

This time around, this episode has a really enormous sell of its own in getting to see Brianna kick off her journey back to the past. Without even talking about anything else that is within Sunday’s episode (check back at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time for a full review on that), this is a moment that casual fans saw in advance and something that likely will appeal to them immensely. If it convinces some of this crowd to watch live when they may have recorded it otherwise on their DVR, we do consider it very much a good thing. (We think that most people who watch early on the app have already done so.)

Of course, we’re well-aware that live ratings are an archaic measurement in many ways and viewership through this particular total is not the only way to measure Outlander’s overall success. Yet, we do at the same time cherish when a show like this does get a ratings boost, since it signals a rise in casual viewership or at least a little bit more mainstream attention. It’s hard to really gauge what makes people watch live or nor watch live in a given week, but we do think that there is enough evidence out there that big story events often equal more viewers. Given how important a character that Brianna is at this point, there are few events out there that are as critical as getting to see Jamie and Claire’s daughter move closer to reuniting with them.

In order for Outlander season 4 episode 5 to be the season’s biggest episode, it will need more than 1.08 million live viewers. That’s feasible, but we also could see it finishing as the #2 episode with around 1.01 million.

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