Showtime President David Nevins announced today "Penny Dreadful" will continue on after its eight-episode first run. Season two was picked up with a 10 episode order, in part thanks to a strong showing on VOD.
"Penny Dreadful" is the most watched new show ever for the relatively young Showtime Anytime streaming platform, but also for Showtime On Demand, which has been available much longer. It's averaging 4.8 million viewers a week across all platforms, and 3.6 million of the roughly 19 million total views through week four come from VOD.
Nevins also told Variety the show is quite popular among the coveted 18-34 demographic, aka the people most likely to consume entertainment via streaming rather than traditional broadcast methods.
"Picking up 'Penny Dreadful' was one of the easiest decisions I've made," said Nevins in a release. "The series has had worldwide impact, drawing big, passionate audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, and more than any other show on our network has hit the bullseye with viewers who want to watch television in all the new ways that are available."
Showtime also released the first episode of "Penny Dreadful" for free online at the end of April, and now they're reporting it as "the biggest sneak preview ever and the largest online streaming sampling ever" for Showtime. It reportedly surpassed "Ray Donovan" and "Masters of Sex" by half a million viewers.
While releasing these numbers is clearly a brag by means for attention, as all press releases try to be, it's interesting to see what numbers qualify a show as a success online. We don't see many streaming statistics, and "Penny Dreadful's," while solid, aren't overwhelming (other than it's sampling data, which is solid whether it beat past shows 1 million to 500,000 or 15 million to 14.5).
Either way, the news shows premium networks are looking harder at streaming numbers and are undoubtedly trying to figure out a way to give more people access to it. Here's hoping the latter comes very, very soon.