Yellowstone Getting More Popular Thanks To One Decision

By Douglas Helm | Updated

Yellowstone has been a massive success for Paramount, and the company recently made a pretty savvy move that seemingly has made the series even more popular. The company broadcast the series for the first time last week on CBS and drew in a whopping 6.6 million viewers. This hooked enough people that viewership of the show on the Peacock streaming network increased 26 percent between Sept. 17 and Sept. 27 compared to the previous 10-day period, according to Variety.

Paramount partially made the decision to give Yellowstone a broadcast debut because it needed to fill out some programming slots due to the Hollywood strikes. However, the company also found that 80 percent of CBS’ 200 million annual viewers had never seen it, and they wanted to try and capture some of that demographic. The tactic worked with the aforementioned 6.6 million viewers, only dropping to 5 million with the second episode on Sunday night.

Following the decision to stream Yellowstone reruns on CBS, the series saw a 26 percent increase in streaming viewership on Peacock.

The drop in viewership from the pilot and the second episode apparently wasn’t even that big of a loss if you consider the fact that some people likely decided to continue watching on Peacock since the 26 percent increase in viewership is likely a direct result of getting these new viewersto start watching Yellowstone in its entirety rather than waiting for new episodes to air.

Funnily enough, this move to Peacock isn’t really benefiting Paramount that much since the streamer is owned by NBC Universal. NBC Universal acquired exclusive streaming rights to Yellowstone in 2019, which was before Paramount launched its own streaming service, Paramount+.

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So, while Paramount is raking in the viewership for the broadcast numbers, NBC Universal is also getting a piece of the pie. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Paramount+ will be left in the cold altogether since the Paramount+ platform has all of the Yellowstone spin-offs available for people to watch. If people get hooked hard enough on the flagship show, they’ll presumably want to check out the other projects as well.

80 percent of CBS’ 200 million annual viewers had never seen Yellowstone, and they wanted to try and capture some of that demographic.

Likely, Paramount is also hoping that broadcasting Yellowstone now will get enough people to binge the series before the second half of the final season airs on Paramount-owned channels. When that second half of the final season finally airs, it’ll be interesting to see if Paramount gets more viewers than expected.

It seems likely that Paramount definitely wants people to binge the series, considering it sold ad space on CBS to NBC Universal, encouraging people to catch up with the series over on Peacock. 

While Paramount undoubtedly wishes it wouldn’t have prematurely sold the streaming rights of Yellowstone to NBC Universal in 2019, it seems that having a mutually beneficial relationship is in both company’s best interests.

Plus, Paramount is likely also wanting to drum up hype for its other upcoming spin-offs, which will undoubtedly appeal to the same audiences it captured from the broadcast. In particular, this might help boost the viewership numbers for the highly anticipated spin-off that is set to star Matthew McConaughey in the lead role.