For the first time HBO is offering free access to their original programming on Facebook.
Starting today the network is releasing full episodes of their new comedy series on Facebook. The first episode of Ballers and the first episode of The Brink are available to stream for free for a limited time. Both series have already premiered on HBO on June 21, according to Variety.
Ballers is an Entourage-like sports comedy starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Johnson is also an executive producer for the show and is hosting the episode on his Facebook page. The episode also includes an introduction from Johnson. The Brink is a political comedy starring Jack Black and Tim Robbins. The Brink series premiere is available on the series’ Facebook page.
The episodes will not be available on YouTube or any other third party digital platform. They will also not be on cable, satellite, or telco TV services. They can be viewed on HBO Go and HBO Now in addition to Facebook.
“Showcasing the two comedies on Facebook expands HBO programming sampling efforts to a new platform,” according to the press release. “With Johnson’s expansive fan base of 49 million followers, it is a natural fit to reach an already primed audience.”
HBO has done similar sampling efforts in the past. Previously the network has released premieres for Girls and The Newsroom on YouTube and, in the case of The Leftovers, Yahoo Screen. As far as Facebook releases go, recently Amazon released the first episode of Catastrophe, a comedy from Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan, on Facebook, according to Video Ink.
The Ballers premiere got 2.2 million viewers and became HBO’s most watched half-hour series debut in six years. It also garnered the most buzz of any HBO half-hour premiere with 17.9K tweets. The Brink opened with 1.6 million viewers and outrated the Veep and Girls premiere, according to Deadline.