The first — and last — Star Trek: Discovery episode to air on CBS delivered ratings that were perhaps more impulse powered than warp speed given all the mystery and buzz, yet the glitzy sci-fi drama still picked up some impressive audience sampling.
A special telecast of the series premiere of the first Trek series in more than a decade delivered 9.6 million viewers and a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49, according to CBS’ time zone adjusted nationals. CBS expects the numbers to rise to 15 million viewers and a 3.0 rating when adding seven days of delayed viewing.
CBS’ unique distribution strategy for Discovery now calls for the show to shift entirely to its CBS All Access streaming service for the rest of its run (which costs $6 per month). The action-packed second episode streamed immediately after the premiere online. Unsurprisingly, the first couple Discovery episodes are very quickly getting pirated a lot.
One can’t help but to compare Discovery to the recent Sunday night premiere ratings for Fox’s Star Trek-inspired dramedy The Orville, which got 8.6 million viewers and a 2.7 adult demo ratings and was aided by some strong NFL lead-in. Numbers for The Orville have fallen off considerably in the show’s regular Thursday night slot, however.
CBS hopes fan interest in Discovery will boost subscriptions to All Access (from about 1 million currently to 4 million by 2020). “Try it; All Access is free to try and if you don’t think it’s worth the value, we get it,” said CBS Interactive president Marc DeBevoise when asked to make a case to a skeptical fan. “It’s not going to be for everybody. We know some of our customers are going to be cord cutters, some are going to be people who want CBS another way and some just want the premium content we’re offering. Also, it’s not like we’re price gouging here. I think it’s a reasonable price for the value we’re delivering. It’s not just what you get on CBS, it is 10,000 episodes of content plus live TV. We have to show people the value of the service, and I think we will.”
CBS didn’t release any streaming data for Discovery but noted that Sunday was the streaming service’s biggest day for new subscriptions ever (as you would expect).
Discovery also made news Monday with a photo of several of the show’s stars taking a knee in solidarity with protesting NFL players. For more on Discovery, check out our post-premiere interview with the show’s executive producer Alex Kurtzman breaking down the first two episodes, our critic’s review and our recap.
Star Trek: Discovery airs on CBS All Access