The BBC this month announced plans to premiere more than 40 hours of programming on its catch-up service BBC iPlayer, and it seems ITV’s own ambitions to debut programmes online were not far behind.
The first episode of 666 Park Avenue, the US drama picked up for ITV2, was released on the recently relaunched ITV Player yesterday, the day before its broadcast debut tonight.
ITV Player will offer a range of free and paid-for premieres online this year, the commercial broadcaster said, with 666 Park Avenue the first to be made available for free.
However, both the BBC and ITV are following a trail blazed by US networks, most notably NBC who last summer debuted some of their new series ahead of their traditional fall schedule premiere slots.
Airing series, or at the least, episodes, before their broadcast debut gives networks an opportunity to build some buzz around the show, particularly on social media sites. How much it will be utilised, however, remains to be seen, but it’s unlikely either the BBC, ITV or US networks will be following VoD platform Netflix’s strategy of making whole seasons available at once, as seen with its recent launch of House of Cards.