Sneak Peek a 'Dunne’ Deal

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Fans of Court TV’s Dominick Dunne will get an early look at the new season of the famed Hollywood author’s series next week, via Time Warner Cable’s on-demand service.

The nation’s second-biggest cable company will bow an episode from Dominick Dunne’s Power, Privilege and Justice, focusing on the death of fashion icon Gianni Versace, on demand on Jan. 9. That’s nearly a month before the episode’s Feb. 6 premiere, Court TV executive vice president of affiliate relations Bob Rose said.

In addition, Court TV will make available to Time Warner on-demand consumers a 90-second highlight reel of the upcoming new season and a candid interview with Dunne himself, according to Court TV vice president of marketing Linda Finney.

The fourth season of the series debuts on Court TV Jan. 16, Rose said. While Court TV has bowed content on-demand before it aired on the linear channel — most recently, last fall’s special revolving around the New Orleans police force in the wake of Hurricane Katrina — Rose said it’s the first time the network has offered an on-demand sneak peek at one of its top original series.

“It gives Time Warner subscribers a full month to see the world premiere of a very high-profile episode of Dominick Dunne,” Rose said.

Time Warner will promote the special on-demand offering through cross-channel advertising, as well as through Time Warner’s Road Runner Internet broadband service, Finney said.

“The on-air and Road Runner promotions that Time Warner gives us will drive people back to the linear channel to watch the rest of the episodes,” she added.

Rose said he expects to see an on-demand usage spike for Court TV’s offering because of the Dunne premiere, but doesn’t feel the early exposure will hurt ratings for the show’s premiere on the basic channel.

Other Court TV shows that bowed on demand first increased ratings for the core channel premiere within Time Warner systems by as much as 20% to 30% versus the show’s national numbers, Rose added.

“We know for sure the previous sneak peeks we’ve done drove our ratings higher in Time Warner systems than they were nationally because of the extra [on-demand] promotion,” he said. “We’re excited about this type of partnership.”

If the Dunne experiment performs well, Rose said the network would look for other opportunities to plant previews of original series episodes on demand with not only Time Warner Cable but other cable companies.

“The VOD platform gives you a lot of flexibility, in terms of assets that you can put on there,” Rose said.

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