Linear cable network Showtime is experimenting with digital streaming platforms to promote its latest batch of premieres. Two of its original series, Billions and Shameless, are currently being streamed across multiple platforms, including Facebook and YouTube, ahead of their linear premieres later this month.
The series’ premiere for the new drama Billions (series stars Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis, pictured) and the sixth season premiere for the comedy Shameless will hit the linear airwaves on Jan. 10 and Jan. 17, respectively, but both have already gone live on YouTube, Facebook, and Showtime’s SVOD, Sho.com — all for free. The premieres are also available for free download through iTunes and on Roku, Hulu PlayStation Vue.
Linear networks harnessing the ubiquity and the reach of social media sites to gain attention for programming is nothing new. This past summer, Starz engaged in a similar promotion with its series Blunt Talk and Survivor’s Remourse, uploading both premieres to Facebook ahead of their linear launch.
The site currently has more than 1.55 billion active monthly users and, as its video presence grows (with an average of eight billion video views per day, according to founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page), so does its popularity with older users. Though younger millennials and Gen Z users are increasingly enamored with mobile sharing platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook is most popular among users in their 40s.
Though Showtime has not yet delved into the production of digital originals, the cable network has made a number of moves to increase its digital presence in the last year. In July, it struck a deal with SVOD Hulu to include its own SVOD as an add-on available to Hulu subscribers available at a discounted price. It was also one of Amazon’s inaugural partners with its streaming partners program, which also made add-ons available to Amazon Prime’s SVOD customers.
Showtime’s digital premieres are only available to U.S. users.