Broadcasters Turn to Additional Screens to Launch New Shows

With fall TV premieres just around the corner, networks including ABC, NBC and Fox are offering pilots and new content through outlets such as Hulu, iTunes, Amazon and cable and satellite provided VOD, often prior to the scheduled television broadcasts. Hulu, for example, is already offering episodes of “The Mindy Project,” “Ironside,” “The Goldbergs,” “Trophy Wife” and “Welcome to the Family.” Some shows will also be available on network websites and those of affiliated stations.

“Hulu (like several other providers, if you have cable or satellite just take a look at your video-on-demand menu) is once again letting you get the jump on your water cooler gossip by offering an early look at a few new and returning shows from ABC, NBC and Fox in advance of their television air dates,” reports Engadget.

“The Peacock will make the debut episodes of both sitcom ‘Welcome to the Family’ and ‘Ironside’ available online via NBC.com, online-video streaming site Hulu and the websites of NBC-affiliated TV stations,” explains Variety.

“Pilots for both programs will also be made available through two apps for mobile devices; through video-on-demand on video distributors Cablevision’s Optimum TV, Charter, Comcast’s Xfinity TV, Cox, DirecTV, DISH, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon FiOS; and through digital download partners, including iTunes and Amazon. The shows will be available September 10 through October 3 — even though the launch episodes of both programs will appear on NBC’s airwaves during that time.”

ABC is streaming pilots for three of its new comedies on WatchABC.com, its ABC mobile app and on Hulu, all weeks before their broadcast debuts.

According to the Hulu Fall Premieres page, additional new episodes will be available in September for shows including “Dancing with the Stars,” “Castle,” “The Voice,” “New Girl,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Dads,” “Modern Family” and a dozen more. The site also lists new shows for October and November.

“The move suggests the big broadcast networks are growing increasingly aware that some portion of the audience that in past years would tune in to a traditional broadcast on TV are, simply put, gone,” notes Variety. “Estimates from market-research firm eMarketer predict average time spent by U.S. adults with digital media per day will surpass the average time spent with TV for the first time in 2013.”