How Outlander on Netflix could become big Starz success story

OutlanderIf you are a die-hard fan of Outlander these days, you probably heard the good news. Earlier this week, the first two seasons of the beloved Starz series have officially made it onto Netflix. It is a bit of an unusual situation, given that the majority of premium cable shows ended up staying for the most part at their premium cable home. As unusual as the situation may be, there’s a chance that there are several pots of gold on the other side of this rainbow for the network.

Think about it this way. There are millions upon millions of viewers of Netflix who may have never seen a single episode of Outlander before. It’s probably not because they have tried to shy away from it; it’s instead because of the simple fact that they just don’t have that service. It’s a lot for some people to spend money every month for something like Starz unless they know that there is a show on there that they’re going to be committed to watching. For casual viewers, that’s a little bit of a gamble.

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If you have read some of our other coverage already on this subject, then you’re probably aware of our hypothesis as to how this can be a victory for Starz. The network is likely aware that there will be some viewers who check things out on Netflix and inevitably make the big hop over to their network to finish things off. It’s unlikely that either season 3 or season 4 will be turning up on Netflix at any point in the near future. Therefore, Starz can open up their arms to welcome everyone as they finish watching the show — or at least however much is available.

So how big of a viewership bump would it take for this move to seem extremely worthwhile? Is there a way that Starz can really quantify Netflix viewership coming over and checking them out? It’s admittedly something that we probably will not be able to see from the outside looking in for a really long time. It’s just hard for average viewers to get a sense of all the intricacies when it comes to network viewership. That’s especially the case given that there aren’t too many unifying bodies that consistently report on DVR numbers, and Starz does not necessarily have to share their own viewership via their app with outside press outlets.

It is with this in mind, however frustrating as it may be, that we mostly have to rely on what the Rye viewership numbers are for a show like Outlander. Because of this, we may not actually know the true impact of Netflix on the show’s overall fan base until 2020, which is most likely win the upcoming season is going to premiere. If the show manages to boost its average viewership by around 10,000 or 20,000 live viewers every week, don’t you have to consider that a pretty big win for this show? That’s especially the case when you think about the context of it. Because Outlander is being made available at midnight the night before its standard air time, we expect the live viewers for Starz to slowly decline over the years as more and more people shift to the app versus traditional television. If the ratings for season 5 are even, or even up slightly, this is the sort of thing that executives would want to pop bottles of champagne over. It’s just not something you see very much of anymore, especially when you have a network who is doing this sort of thing that Starz is.

Beyond all of this, the only other way to genuinely trace the impact of Netflix on Outlander is to just see what’s going on on social media. See if people are enthusiastic about the show, and are interested in watching more because of what they’re seeing on the streaming service. That is something we are going to track over the next few weeks.

Now, we want to hear from you. Do you think that Netflix will boost the ratings for Outlander moving into the upcoming seasons? Be sure to share in the attached comments, and of course, we will have more news on Outlander moving into the future. (Photo: Starz.)

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