When Sundance Channel premieres the first episode of the second season of Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys on PerezHilton.com today, it’ll be a full 24 hours before the on-air debut of the show on Nov. 18. What’s more, the blogger’s unveiling of the show follows a Twitter premiere earlier in the week, as well as a Hulu debut of the episode. The Twitter debut marked one of the first time a network has leveraged the social platform to bow a show, and while the Twitter-cast only generated 2,000 views, it’s a start to using social video to drive early buzz in a TV show.
Networks and brands alike are eagerly hunting for ways to pivot off of social chatter and online word-of-mouth, and actual sneak peeks on social venues are a new strategy. Sundance is also offering the new episode on Facebook this week, potentially reaching the show's 237,000 Facebook fans. The PerezHilton.com online premiere kicks off a series of PSAs with Hilton exploring issues like tolerance and bullying.
“The opportunity that social affords Sundance Channel is to really engage with its audience in a push-pull, but to also really listen to our audience and we see the opportunities as limitless,” said Sarah Barnett, General Manager and Senior VP of the network, in an interview. “Twitter seemed like this great vehicle for an innovation tactic and a way to engage in the area viewers are already talking about, so it’s a really key part of how we challenge ourselves daily to try and stay one step ahead of where our audience is.”
While the early Twitter views may be small, the goal is to grow momentum with social video for the on-air premiere. Already, the show has generated 18,000 check-ins on social TV service Get Glue since Nov. 4. Barnett said engagement across Facebook Twitter, YouTube and other social channels is steadily growing, based on the network's own analysis.
This pre-launch social video strategy will carry through to other Sundance shows. The network has released YouTube fashion videos with Joe Zee in advance of the premiere of “All on the Line with Joe Zee" next week. The network will also premiere the first episode of the second season on YouTube.
“There are different ways to connect with an audience,” Barnett said. “We will experiment and test different activities for all our shows.”