LOOKING TO TIGHTEN its bonds with a difficult-to-reach millennial audience, Oxygen has rolled out the digital red carpet to provide early access to the first episode of season two of Sisterhood of Hip Hop, about a week before its scheduled TV premiere.
In a first for Oxygen that hits on an emerging trend among programmers, the network’s prelinear digital premiere of the docuseries’ new season hit the Internet last Wednesday (June 3) via Oxygen.com, the network’s TV Everywhere apps, Hulu, set-top video-on-demand platforms and (credential-free) at Bossip.com.
A big aim of the digital-access campaign, which is being paired with social-media elements, is to broaden access to the premiere and entice viewers to return for the rest of the season. Season two of Sisterhood of Hip Hop will air on the Oxygen channel starting Tuesday ( June 9) at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
“We’re really trying for a wide sampling opportunity for the millennials,” Ellen Stone, executive vice president of marketing at Oxygen and Bravo, said of the network’s digital strategy.
Bossip.com, a site dedicated to African-American pop culture and entertainment, is the only external website to post the episode in the early digital window. It will also provide clips and other editorial coverage around the series.
“We have had a lot of success with them [Bossip.com] in terms of engaging their audience with our content and our programming,” Stone said, noting that the site has an audience of about 3.5 million. “While we wanted it to be a good sampling opportunity, we also wanted to make sure that we’d hit it right, and Bossip was hands-down the place to go.”
Other networks have been using digital distribution to drive interest ahead of their TV debuts. As one example, MTV last year offered an exclusive, early look at Faking It on its TV everywhere app a week ahead of its linear TV premiere.
Oxygen is also pairing the season-two linear premiere with a “Make It Rain” watch-and-win sweepstakes, whereby the network will post a special Twitter hashtag during the show. Viewers who see it and share it on the social network will automatically be entered to win $25,000.
Oxygen has also been using Twitter to drive interest in the 30 days heading into the season two premiere by tapping into “RSVP,” a custom product from Twitter that enables partners to schedule, promote and target tweets alongside an added capability that will remind followers — via direct message — to tune in to Oxygen on June 9 and to register for the sweepstakes.