Starz’s recent decision to move its original programming to Sunday night, starting with the Season 3 premiere of “Power,” caused a bit of head scratching among TV schedulers. But the network’s “Power” move appears to have paid off.
The premiere episode drew a total audience of 2.26 million in its new 9 p.m. timeslot on Sunday, up an impressive 58 percent from the Season 2 premiere. That’s also a record number of viewers for Starz for a season opener, besting the record formerly held by “Outlander” Season 2.
“Power” also drew a 1.1 in the 18-49 demographic, though solid demo ratings are purely gravy for a subscription-based outlet like Starz, which doesn’t have to worry about pleasing advertisers.
Over the course of two encore airings Sunday night, another 1.11 million viewers watched the episode, for a grand total of 3.37 million. That places “Power” in pretty good company. AMC’s “Preacher,” which occupies the same Sunday slot, hovers around 1.5 million total viewers for its initial airing, and a .5 in the demo, though those numbers can double once viewing within three days is counted.
But the remarkable thing about “Power” is that it’s steadily increased its audience over the last two seasons, and it won the Sunday ratings race despite airing on a network that has only 23.6 million subscribers, or a little more than half of Netflix’s U.S. footprint. (Starz currently ranks second in subscriber numbers for premium cable channels, just ahead of Showtime, but still behind HBO.)
This also means that about 14% of people with Starz tuned in to the “Power” premiere Sunday night—a figure that doesn’t include streaming through the Starz app or the Starz add-on to Amazon Prime.
These are encouraging stats for a network throwing a lot of money at original programming, and which was just bought by Lionsgate for a whopping $4.4 billion.
Starz’s next big bet is “American Gods,” an adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel helmed by Bryan Fuller and starring Ricky Whittle and Ian McShane.