Networks look on-line to draw younger viewers again to TV

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By Jessica Toonkel

NEW YORK Discovery Communications Inc and Time Warner Inc’s Turner are taking the weird step of streaming full episodes of recent reveals on-line or on apps earlier than they air on TV to draw youthful viewers within the face of slipping scores.

Premium channels like CBS Corp’s Showtime have achieved this for years to entice new subscribers, however cable networks haven’t, fearing they may cannibalize TV scores.

However at this time viewers have many extra selections as streaming firms like Inc and Netflix Inc carry a year-round slate of recent reveals on high of broadcast tv.

In consequence, networks must do extra to advertise new reveals, in line with Dave Morgan, head of promoting expertise firm Simulmedia.

Beforehand, networks targeted all advertising and marketing round a present’s premier, mentioned Kevin Reilly, chief inventive officer at Turner.

“Right now, your complete first season is a advertising and marketing car,” he mentioned. “If I mentioned that 5 years in the past, individuals would have mentioned ‘You are out of your thoughts’.”

Over the previous yr, Turner put 5 premiers on Fb and Google’s YouTube.

Discovery’s true crime channel, Investigation Discovery (ID), plans to place the primary episode of at the very least 5 of its collection on its app for cable subscribers earlier than they air on TV, mentioned Kevin Bennett, basic supervisor of ID.

When school soccer season begins in August, Walt Disney Co’s sports activities community ESPN, which is combating declining subscribers, will let on-line viewers watch 10 minutes of any sport or present at no cost on its app.

If the app acknowledges the viewer as a fan of a selected staff, it is going to showcase that staff’s video games, Justin Connolly, government vp, affiliate gross sales and advertising and marketing at ESPN, advised Reuters. After 10 minutes, they should confirm they’re a cable subscriber or enroll.


By placing some episodes on-line at no cost, Turner faces the added danger of upsetting its cable and satellite tv for pc companions. Conscious of that, Turner has solely chosen sure reveals to place on-line.

Final June, Turner’s TNT received about 6 million viewers for the primary episode of its new household crime drama, “Animal Kingdom,” which it streamed on Fb and YouTube earlier than it aired on TV. Turner mentioned 16 % of these on-line viewers – or about 960,000 individuals – got here again to observe the present on TV.

Turner believes that placing the premier on-line helped the present to extend its share of youthful viewers, between 18 and 49 years previous, from 899,000 on the present’s tv debut to 1.15 million by the ultimate episode.

“It won’t construct Nielsen scores, nevertheless it builds engagement,” mentioned Michael Engleman, government vp of leisure advertising and marketing at Turner, referring to the TV trade’s main scores agency.

ID has put the second episodes of some reveals on its ID GO app for cable subscribers instantly after the primary episodes aired on TV in a bid to drive individuals to its app and to create a buzz, Bennett mentioned.

Final Spring, Discovery streamed the second episode of its miniseries about Casey Anthony, the Florida mother acquitted of killing her two-year-old daughter, proper after the primary episode aired on TV.

When the episode aired on TV the following evening, it was the highest-rated second episode for ID ever on TV, Bennett mentioned.

For Discovery, whether or not viewers watch its reveals on its app or on TV will not be a key distinction. Discovery will get a 50-percent premium on adverts offered by the app since they’re extra focused and viewers can’t skip adverts, mentioned Paul Guyardo, chief industrial officer at Discovery.

Such ways may help when Discovery begins negotiations with its pay TV companions, he mentioned.

“After we come up for renewals, we aren’t simply offering a linear channel,” Guyardo mentioned. “That helps with renewals and price will increase.”

(Reporting by Jessica Toonkel; enhancing by Anna Driver and Invoice Rigby)


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