Showtime’s a Big Hit on YouTube…and “The L Word” Has a Life Online

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By on 05/05/2009 8:20 AM @daisywhitney

Showtime is the third most viewed entertainment channel of
all-time on YouTube
and the premium network relies heavily on the viral video
site as a marketing platform.

With 16.5 million subscribers to the pay TV
channel, Showtime has found that digital venues like iTunes and YouTube can
drive additional demand for a show, the network’s Rob Hayes, senior VP and
general manager for digital media, told Beet.TV during an interview at the
company’s headquarters last month.

“When you put your content on iTunes there
is a real demand for it because people have heard about these shows but they
may not be subscribers,” he said. “It’s really the first time digitally they
can access our shows.”

The premium network’s digital strategy is worth noting.
Here’s why: the network’s growing popularity and critical acclaim with shows
like “Dexter” and “The Tudors” has risen in the last few years concurrently
with Showtime’s forward-thinking online distribution strategy.

The CBS-owned unit was one
of the first TV networks to partner with YouTube three years ago to offer
clips, promos, original viral videos. Then Showtime became one of the first
networks to offer full episodes on the site late last year. Also, the network
has often premiered the first episode of a new season on YouTube and other
sites before running on-air.

The network usually sees a spike in orders for the network after this type of
digital promotion. Earlier this year the network premiered the first episode of
“The United States of Tara” online.

Showtime also creates viral videos for its
programs for YouTube. The network said it is averaging more than 500,000 video views
per day on YouTube this year, many for its “Lezberado” channel dedicated to
“The L Word.”

The L Word Lives On — Online Only

L Word, which ended in March, after a 6 year run,  lives on, online with the "Interrogation Tapes."  The series is published Showtime's site which uses a Brightcove player.  We have pasted one of the online only episodes below. It also is on Showtime's YouTube page.

Daisy Whitney, Senior Producer

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