You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Taps Other Screens To Get Viewers To Sample New Shows

NBC gets the word out about new TV shows with trips to tablets and the set-top box

To make the most money, TV networks like NBC, ABC and CBS need viewers to watch shows the traditional way – on the good ol’ boob tube.

To get TV aficionados to try new shows like freshman ABC sitcom “The Goldbergs” or NBC cop drama “Ironside,” however, the TV outlets seem to think any screen is just as good as the one on the TV set.

Take NBC, for example. 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.  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.

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.  Estimates from market-research firm eMarketer predict ‘ average time speit by U.S. adults with digital media per day will surpass the average time spent with TV for the first time in 2013.

According to eMarketer, the average adult will spend over 5 hours per day online, on non-voice mobile activities or with other digital media this years, compared to 4 hours and 31 minutes watching television. Daily TV time will actually be down slightly this year, while digital media consumption will be up 15.8%.

To make the most people aware of new TV programs, then, the networks must tap methods other than running promos on their networks, though that method remains quite effective. To be sure, CBS has increased the number of minutes it uses for promos in its summer hit “Under the Dome,” well aware that the show reaches millions of people each week on a linear basis.

But the networks are also tapping other methods, even if it means running the programs in full in new-tech arenas.

ABC, for its part, is streaming pilots for  three new l comedies – “The Goldbergs,” “Trophy WIfe” and “Back in the Game” – on WatchABC.com, its ABC mobile app and on Hulu – all three weeks prior to the shows’ TV debut. CBS’ traditional fall preview is being made available via on-demand via various cable operators and TV-station websites, as well as on TV itself.

The broadcast networks have experimented with alternate venues for “sneak previews” of their pilots for the last several years, Among the programs streamed on Hulu prior to their boob-tube debut Fox’s “The New Girl,” “NBC’s “Smash,” ABC’s “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23” and Fox’s “The Mindy Project.”

By some TV-executive estimates, as many as 75% to 80% of all new TV programs fail. With that in mind, its little wonder TV networks are trying to follow their audiences’ new video-watching habits to attempt to bring them back to the living-room couch.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers

    Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers From Skipping Fox Ad Breaks

    Fox is hoping to knit together the seconds-long divide between a TV program and the commercials that support it. During ad breaks for a few football broadcasts, tomorrow’s run of the Emmys and Wednesday’s season premiere of “The Masked Singer,” the network will kick off ad sessions with special show promos that display artistic renderings [...]

  • Patria

    HBO Europe Unveils ‘Patria’ Footage to Captive San Sebastian Audience

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Amid large expectation, HBO Europe has revealed first footage giving a first sense of tone and pace of its Spanish original series “Patria.” A packed-to-overflowing press conference on Saturday morning at the San Sebastian Festival can be read as one sign of the potential popularity of the eight-part series. The panel sneak-peek [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

  • ABC Studios Logo

    ABC Studios Head of Alternative Fernando Hernandez Exits

    ABC Studios’ head of alternative Fernando Hernandez has departed from his post at the Disney-owned television studio, a source familiar with the situation told Variety. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news. Hernandez’s exit follows an executive shuffling at the top in recent months that has included the departure of Amy Hartwick, ABC Studio’s head [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

  • TV Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville'

    TV News Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville' Role in 'Arrowverse' Crossover

    In today’s TV news roundup, Erica Durance reprises her “Smallville” role in the CW’s annual “Arrowverse” crossover, and Showtime shares with Variety an exclusive sneak peek at the return of “The Circus.” FIRST LOOKS “2020 is the most important election of our lifetime,” Alex Wagner says in a new trailer for the fourth season of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content