Showtime is planning a massive publicity campaign to support its new comedy series The United States of Tara. As part of the campaign, the premiere episode of the series will be available on a slew of video sites, including YouTube, TV.com, Yahoo!, FanCast and Veoh, social networking sites like Facebook and entertainment blogs such as Gawker, Bestweekever.tv and Pink is the New Blog. It will be available in high definition on Showtime’s site and TV.com
As part of the campaign, Showtime will also make the premiere episodes of Secret Diary of a Call Girl and The L Word available on the sites the same day they premiere on the network.
The episode will also be available on mobile devices, including Verizon’s V-Cast service, AT&T Mobile TV, MedioFlo, iTunes, Zune and Joost’s iPhone application.
Cable and satellite partners will also be able to show the first episode of Taraon-demand and on their broadband portals. DirecTV will also air it in HD on its network The 101.
All told, the participating sites reach 170 million users, according to Showtime. The network says that the sampling of new shows has proven an effective way to get new subscribers to the channel and increase exposure. The network says that the Campaign for The United States of Tara is one of the largest content distribution campaigns to launch a new series ever.
While previewing new episodes online in advance of their debut on the linear channel is not a new one, it has not been done with the scope that Showtime is pursuing. HBO premiered the first episode of season two of Flight of The Conchords online on Funny or Die and other sites last month, while NBC made its new fall shows available on Hulu and other sites a week before they debuted on the channel.