For Starz, "Black Sails" Is Suddenly Looking Adrift

Weakening viewership comes at a bad time, one Fool says.

Feb 15, 2014 at 3:00PM

Black Sails may have a tough time keeping a crew of regular viewers, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.

The show, a Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) original, drew in a combined 3.5 million viewers in its debut weekend on a base of 850,000 who tuned in live. Impressive, right? No doubt. And yet the wind may be turning against Black Sails. Episode 3 saw live viewership drop to just 670,000, a 20% decline.

Should investors be concerned? Tim says it's too soon to panic, especially with Outlander and its built-in audience of rabid fans waiting in the wings. Still, it's clear Black Sails isn't getting the reaction Starz hoped for when it pre-emptively ordered a second season on the heels of a positive screening at last summer's San Diego Comic-Con.

Mediocre reviews probably aren't helping. Only 58% of critics and 75% of audiences like the show as of this writing, according to RottenTomatoes.com. Plenty of other action-packed epics are earning more raves, including The Blacklist (82% fresh), Helix (84% fresh), and The Walking Dead (90% fresh). They've set a high bar that, so far, Black Sails hasn't found a way to clear. Don't let that keep you out of the stock entirely if you're interested in taking a position, Tim says. Just be sure to make it a small one.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Are you watching Black Sails? If so, how do you rate it compared to the alternatives? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take and then leave a comment to let us know what you think, and whether you would buy, sell, or short Starz stock at current prices.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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