Freeform’s ‘Beyond’ and ‘Shadowhunters’ prove the future is in streaming
The young have spoken
Freeform has already conquered social-media with hits like “Pretty Little Liars” and “Shadowhunters,” now the network is setting its sights on being one of the most-streamed networks.
“Beyond” is one of Freeform’s newest dramas, and the network gave the new series a digital-premiere. Unlike other networks, Freeform seems to be targeting its millennial audience with a major focus on digital-streaming, and while that may seem like an obvious choice, most networks prefer standard OTA broadcasts for their premieres, and choose to release their content on streaming platforms a day later.
For “Beyond,” Freeform gave viewers a chance to stream the premiere across popular digital platforms, all while featuring reduced ad loads to enhance the viewing experience. In Beyond’s first week alone, the show has already amassed over 14 million views, including 7.0 million across digital platforms. The show even reached an additional 7.2 million Total Viewers on linear TV.
According to the network, the first person to binge all ten episodes completed the season in under 10 hours on January 2 at 10:13 a.m. EST using the Freeform app on an iPhone. The company also pointed out, that out of the people that completed the binge in the first 3 days, 26% watched it in one sitting. In that same group, 59% watched the content within a day and 93% watched it within 2 days. Moreover, an impressive 51% of “Beyond” viewers watching via the Freeform app/website were new to the network.
In fact, Freeform generated its best week across digital platforms in well over 4 years, powered by the debut of “Beyond” and the second season premiere of “Shadowhunters”. This could be great news for digital-bingers and cord-cutters. Freeform proved that there is a gigantic audience that prefer to stream their content, and it could lead to more networks changing how they operate. While it would be harder to get older generations to switch to digital-streaming for their premieres, Freeform proved that younger generations are clearly open to the idea, and that targeting premieres online can be beneficial to everyone.
Based on Live + 3 day linear TV ratings for its 2-hour premiere, “Beyond” stood as the network’s biggest series launch in 1 year, ranking as the No. 1 scripted cable TV telecast in the time period in Total Viewers with 1.5 million.
The season two launch of “Shadowhunters generated an additional 1.1 million views across digital platforms, and ranked as the No. 1 original scripted cable TV telecast in its time period across its key targets, and was the No. 1 most social TV show of the day with 1.4 million total engagements across Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter.
During the 2015/16 TV season, “Shadowhunters” was the No. 1 new TV series in Total Engagements (62.3 million) and ranked an impressive No. 5 overall among all broadcast and cable TV series. It was also the No. 1 TV series on Tumblr (6.3 million) and placed among the Top 5 scripted TV series on Instagram (No. 4 – 32.5 million) and Twitter (No. 5 – 15.3 million).