HBO, ahead of the premiere of season two of tech-startup spoof “Silicon Valley,” is teaming with Amazon’s Twitch videogame-casting service for a promo event that will include a free stream of the first season’s pilot episode.
Show cast members Thomas Middleditch, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr and Zach Woods will visit Twitch for a live gameplay and Q&A session followed by the free episode on Wednesday, April 8, starting at 12 p.m. PT. According to HBO, the event fits neatly with Twitch because several “Silicon Valley” characters are avid gamers, as are some of the actors on the show, including series star Middleditch, who is a Twitch streamer. Fans will be able to watch the webcast and interact with the cast on http://www.twitch.tv/twitch.
For HBO, the promo stunt comes as it gears up to launch HBO Now, the $15-per-month standalone Internet-streaming service that doesn’t require a cable TV subscription. It’s slated to debut later this month, available on Apple TV set-tops and via Cablevision Systems. In addition, Dish Network will offer HBO as part of its Sling TV over-the-top service for an additional $15 per month.
“There is an authentic connection between ‘Silicon Valley’ and the Twitch audience, and this unique event is a great way to build upon that,” said Sabrina Caluori, HBO’s VP of digital and social media. “Twitch offers a unique opportunity to provide exclusive content and a highly social experience to this influential community.”
Twitch, which Amazon acquired last year, has more than 100 million monthly members who watch live videogame webcasts and chat with more than 1.5 million individual broadcasters.
During the event next week, “Silicon Valley” cast will engage in game playing with host Jon Carnage, Twitch’s live programming director, and answer questions live from Twitch viewers. In addition, HBO will share an exclusive clip from the upcoming season, which premieres April 12 (following the “Game of Thrones” season-five debut). After the Q&A, there will be a live stream of the show’s pilot episode from season one.
According to Twitch, the event will be the first time a TV network has streamed a full episode on the service. TBS staged a similar stunt on Twitch for “King of the Nerds” season three in January, which included a preview of the first 30 minutes of the new season’s premiere.
“Silicon Valley,” which garnered Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for its freshman run, is a parody of high-tech and venture-capital culture focusing on Pied Piper, a startup that has developed a proprietary compression algorithm. The show is a collaboration between Mike Judge and Alec Berg, who each direct five episodes of the 10-ep second season.
Watch a promo video from HBO about the Twitch event: