By Sahil Patel
MTV will continue its practice of debuting new programming on its digital platforms ahead of their TV premieres with the first episode of “Generation Cryo,” a new documentary series that follows a 17-year-old girl on her quest to find all of her half-siblings who were fathered by the same anonymous donor.
The first episode of the documentary series will be made available tonight, beginning at 12am ET, on the MTV apps for iOS devices and the Xbox 360. The series is scheduled to premiere a week from now, on Monday, November 25 at 10pm ET, on MTV.
The reasoning behind releasing the first episode online ahead of its on-air premiere is an obvious one — marketing to MTV’s audience, which just so happens to be young and digitally connected. “We’ve been actively experimenting with introducing new shows on the app to help build awareness and buzz leading to the premiere on television,” said Robyn DeMarco, EVP of programming and content strategy at MTV, in a statement. “Our audiences are living on these devices and these platforms provide new opportunities to super-serve exclusive content to our fans while simultaneously creating new ways to integrate our ad partners.”
MTV did a somewhat similar thing very recently with “Wait ’Til Next Year,” a documentary series about a high school football team that’s lost more than 40 games in a row. Though in that case, MTV made every episode of the first season available on its apps, in an effort to get people to binge and then talk about the show. Per MTV, that decision led to a 47% week-over-week increase in downloads of the MTV apps and the “biggest streaming week to date” per person on the app. In addition, the show’s TV premiere saw an 8% uptick in the 12–17 age demo.
It’s becoming a common practice across the cable ecosystem to debut new programming online to build buzz for their on-air premieres. HBO and Showtime are known to do this with the first episode of their new and returning shows, and MTV’s sister site VH1, has also practiced with this release strategy.
“Generation Cryo” is produced by Off the Fence for MTV. OTF’s Michael Lang, Ellen Windemuth, and Rob Schwarze serve as executive producers. Marshall Eisen, Nomi Ernst Leidner, Betsy Forhan, and Dave Sirulnick serve as executive producers for MTV.
As usual, anyone who wants to watch the episode on the MTV app will first need to prove that they subscribe to MTV on cable.