In what appears to be a first for a television network, MTV has pre-released a full season of a series exclusively on an app -- a week prior to TV broadcast.
The Viacom-owned cabler's strategy apes the Netflix practice of dropping all episodes of a series at once, letting users binge-watch as much as they want instead of having to wait for new eps on a weekly cycle.
Starting Friday, MTV is making all 12 episodes of new high-school football docu-drama "Wait 'Til Next Year" via the MTV app, available on iPhone, iPad and Xbox 360 for Xbox Live Gold members in the U.S. The show will premiere on TV next Friday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
MTV's promo is aimed at driving up usage of its apps, which reinforce its pay TV distribution deals: The full season of "Wait 'Til Next Year" is available only to subscribers of 10 participating cable, satellite and telco partners.
The cabler has tried other stunts to boost usage: The MTV app saw an 82% increase in installs week-over-week after the programmer launched a "flock-to-unlock" initiative tied its "Miley: The Movement" documentary, which provided access to two new clips after fans tweeted #UnlockMiley. Meanwhile, Earlier this week, MTV sister channel VH1 made biopic "CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story" exclusively available in the newly launched VH1 app for a week following the TV premiere.
"Wait 'Til Next Year" follows one season of the Lincoln Park Railsplitters, a hapless Michigan high-school football team that had lost 43 consecutive games. (Earlier this month, the team finally won its first game since 2006, breaking a 66-game losing streak.) Show's exec producers are Craig D'Entrone, Amelia D'Entrone and Sean Travis. MTV execs in charge of production are Lauren Dolgen, Jessica Zalkind, Julie Schwachenwald and Sara Cohen.
Access to full-length episodes in the MTV and VH1 apps are included as part of a subscriber's TV service package from 10 operators: AT&T U-verse, Bright House Networks, Cablevision Systems, DirecTV, EPB Fiber Optics, Hawaiian Telcom, RCN, Suddenlink, Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS, which collectively reach nearly 50 million homes. Over the next few months, Viacom Music and Logo Group will launch similar apps for CMT and Logo.
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