NBC (s GE) posted an early look at the pilot of its upcoming show Community online, but you won’t find it on the network’s site, or even the NBC-owned Hulu. If you want a sneak peek at the new sitcom, you have to become a fan of it on Facebook.
The networks are bound to try out a lot of different promotions to boost audience numbers (and get those upfront ad dollars back up), but this is worth mentioning for a couple of reasons. First, as noted, NBC isn’t driving traffic to NBC.com or Hulu with this offer. Last year, Hulu’s relationships with its network parents made it the go-to place for first looks of the fall season. That could still happen again this year (with the addition of ABC content) as the fall season premieres get closer, but Facebook is first out of the gate.
The move also further validates Facebook as a burgeoning video powerhouse. To our knowledge, this is the first network programming premiere that the social network has hosted. Facebook is already exerting itself as a personal video sharing platform — extending that influence into premium content should have the folks at Hulu HQ concerned. Sure Hulu has Facebook Connect, but that’s still one step removed from putting the show right where people are already interacting and sharing what they like. Additionally, with Facebook, as opposed to other sites, the fan additions, comments and reviews are from real people — not anonymous rabble-rousers looking to post “U R Stooopid” a hundred times.