If you just can’t wait to see what the new “Knight Rider” or “Chuck” TV shows are all about, you’re in luck. For the third consecutive year, NBC is making new series available online a week before their network premiers.
You can also find “Kath & Kim,” “Crusoe,” “My Own Worst Enemy,” “Life,” Lipstick Jungle,” and “30 Rock” everywhere you look — NBC’s Website, iTunes, Amazon’s Unbox, Microsoft Xbox and Zune, Hulu, and through TV providers such as Comcast, Cox, Charter, Dish, and Verizon FIOS.
Did NBC leave anybody out?
“We want to make (programs) available in as many ways as we can so we can get fans,” NBC’s marketing boss John Miller told USA Today. “If you don’t embrace people’s behavior, you can be lost by it.”
NBC’s early-release strategy is at odds with most other networks.
After offering “Jericho” last year, CBS is putting nothing online this season. Oddly, it’s screening pilots of “Worst Week” and “Gary Unlimited” on American Airlines flights since Sept. 1. It’s also screening “Worst Week” and “The Ex List” at 10 universities.
“Samantha Who?” “Pushing Daisies,” and “Ugly Betty” will go online this week, but only in approximately six minute clips. That’s hardly worth the effort and teasing to watch.
The network offers no advanced premiers this year after serving up “K-Ville” and “Back to You” last season. “Fringe” (potentially my favorite new show) and “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” were streamed at the same time they aired on TV, but only to on-campus computer users.
Bill Bradford, senior vice president at Fox, told USA Today, “I don’t think anybody’s reached the sweet spot yet in terms of Internet viewing of television.”
The CW held back the pilot of the much-hyped return of “90210” until its debut. It streamed two shows last year on Yahoo, only to see them fail.
As USA Today notes, the strategy of streaming TV shows before their premiers is risky business, although there is no definitive answer whether it helps or hurts a show’s chance for success. It can build positive word of mouth (what NBC hopes for) or it can spread the news that a show is a dog (what The CW experienced last year).
Either way, kudos to NBC for experimenting again. Raspberries to ABC, CBS, Fox, and The CW for wimping out.