USA Network is launching a broadband Web site, pairing with Yahoo! TV to stream one series and offering episodes of two other series on video-on-demand (VOD) before they premiere on TV.
As part of its upfront pitch to advertisers on May 9, USA is expected to announce plans for a broadband video channel. The online hub, CharacterClique, will feature user-generated content, Webisodes from original series and other short-form programming.
The NBC Universal-owned cable channel has also paired with Yahoo! TV, which will exclusively stream a highlights episode of original drama The 4400 beginning May 21. On May 29, the special will rerun on usanetwork.com and fellow NBC U-owned site scifi.com, before premiering June 4 on NBC U’s USA, Sci Fi and Bravo cable networks. The 4400 will be featured heavily on USA’s broadband site with an interactive diary, podcasts and blogs from the series’ cast members, writers and producers.
USA will also become the first NBC U cable network to premiere episodes of its original series on several cable operators’ free VOD before they launch on TV. The new season of Monk and the series premiere of Psych will premiere on VOD June 30, a week before they run on TV. After that, digital-cable subscribers can view short clips and extra footage from Monk on VOD.
USA, like Sci Fi, is promising that every future show it develops will have a broadband component. Regularly cable’s highest-rated channel, USA joins a growing roster of networks to increase the amount of content they offer on digital platforms. They are responding in part to pressure from advertisers demanding that TV networks engage viewers with their content on multiple delivery platforms.