Outlander Season 4: Will Starz Continue The Early-Release Strategy?
One of the things that are somewhat typical for Starz over the years when it comes to all their programming (including Outlander) is pretty simple-they don’t wait until the show airs to make it available online for the public. New episodes of Outlander the Starz series air Sunday nights, but that doesn’t mean that you should wait for them that long. As long as you have the Starz On-Demand or the app, you can watch the episodes starting at midnight the day they come out.
When Starz introduced this idea years ago for their shows, it was a risky move. We are still in an era where so many networks live-and-die by live+same-day Nielsen ratings. These are the ones that are reported by sites and are often used as the main litmus test for a show’s success. Do they still matter? Sure, but mostly for broadcast and basic-cable entities who need advertisers. For premium networks, they are mere window dressing-yet, HBO and Showtime are hesitant to make an offer that brings the shows early. They still like the press releases that boast big numbers of viewers at the shows original airtime.
What Starz did is they basically thumb their nose at how networks traditionally do things. They realize that Nielsen rating doesn’t dictate whether or not their shows should return for additional seasons. Their subscribers do. If they see that the show is bringing in lots of subscribers, they will renew it. Is there often a correlation between ratings and subscribers? Sure, but that is not always the case. One such example is Twin Peaks.
We do know that his strategy of early-release for shows like Outlander does carry with it great risks, such as regular viewers seeing spoilers for the upcoming episode before they actually air on TV. Even today, we imagine that there are some casual Outlander watchers simply clueless about there being another option to watching the newest Outlander season besides Starz.
Will Starz Change Their Early-Release Strategy?
Hopefully not, as there are no other drawbacks for them other than spoilers. It makes them stand out, and it benefits shows like Outlander, who has a pretty die-hard fanbase, and it encourages multiplatform viewing. In some ways, Starz is thinking like a television network for the modern era more than anyone else. The longer the tradition holds, the more it will benefit them.