STARZ CEO never wanted Outlander to head to Netflix

Outlander -- Courtesy of STARZ -- Acquired via STARZ Media Center
Outlander -- Courtesy of STARZ -- Acquired via STARZ Media Center /

Loving that you can watch the first three seasons of Outlander on Netflix in the U.S.? This wasn’t something STARZ CEO Jeffrey Hirsch wanted.

There’s no doubt that Outlander going to Netflix U.S. has been great for the series. It’s opened the world to more, introducing new people to the time-traveling period drama. However, it’s not something STARZ CEO Jeffrey Hirsch ever wanted to happen, despite the positive benefits.

Arguably, the series wasn’t doing all that badly on its own. It had 18 million people viewing across all platforms on the first night, leading to it quickly being renewed for a second season. The audience grew in the third season as more people learned about the series and caught up through STARZ. Even four seasons in, it remains one of STARZ’s most popular shows.

Is it really all that surprising that Hirsch didn’t want it to head to Netflix? After all, that’s an audience base that isn’t on STARZ, that isn’t helping the premium cable network grow in numbers.

Although, in a way it is. While the viewers may initially find Outlander on Netflix, they don’t get it all. The fourth season isn’t yet available, and most likely won’t be until at least later this year. Viewers have to go to STARZ if they want to get caught up and then watch Season 5 live in February. It opens the door for more subscribers.

So why did Hirsch allow Outlander to head to Netflix U.S.? Well, he didn’t. According to an interview with Entertainment Weekly, that deal was signed, sealed, and delivered before he became CEO of the company. Chris Albrecht helped to work that deal, and we know that he was a strong champion for the series and simply wanted the best for it. He knew that meant Netflix would be a good home for some episodes.

It does sound like once the deal comes to an end, the contract isn’t going to be renewed. Hirsch wants all shows to be exclusive to STARZ in the U.S. It makes sense in a way, but we know that Netflix has a bigger audience and more potential. However, it sounds like Netflix will lose Outlander at some point in the future.

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What do you think about the series heading to Netflix? Did you find it because of the bigger streamer? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Outlander Season 5 premieres on Feb. 16 on STARZ.