Network TV Premieres on YouTube: Who's Winning?

It’s fall again (in some parts of the world) and there’s so much to look forward to: cozy sweaters, leaves turning from green to yellow and crimson, and brand new shows premiering on primetime. That’s right; major networks ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX are rolling out a slate of new shows this September, October, and November. Each of these networks has uploaded trailers of their new shows to YouTube, allowing fans to catch an online sneak peek of what’s to come this Fall TV season. So what network’s new programming holds the most appeal for YouTube viewers? Let’s take a look and see what channel has the winning content.



NBC takes the cake with over 18.8 million views for their fall show trailers, averaging 3.1 million views per video across 6 videos. More than 9.8 million of those views went to new show Constantine, based on the DC comic Hellblazer. Another new addition to NBC’s lineup, State of Affairs starring Katherine Heigl, earned an impressive 5.4 million views.



The trailers for FOX’s fall programming received over 10.8 million views, but more than 9.2 million of those views went to the new Batman origin story Gotham. The other 4 trailers got far less views. Looks like those comic-based shows have the secret sauce for success, at least when it comes to sparking the interest of people on YouTube. Gracepoint, Fox’s remake of BBC series Broadchurch also generated some interest with more than 544,000 views and 0.6% engagement per view, the same percentage that Gotham received. FOX and NBC trailers got huge shares on Facebook and Twitter compared to ABC and CBS, which seems to have driven the significantly higher view counts.



ABC’s fall trailers received more than 2 million views that were fairly evenly distributed among the 11 trailers for the network’s 6 new shows. ABC’s most viewed fall show was the new drama How to Get Away With Murder from Shonda Rhimes’ production company, which received over 1 million views for its 2 trailers. Also of note– although the half-hour comedy Black-ish received just over 472,000 views for its 2 trailers, it had 0.8% engagements per view, one of the highest percentages out of all of the shows on these 4 networks.



Interestingly CBS, the channel with the most subscribers, has the least views for its 6 fall show trailers with just over 635,000 views total. With over 455,000 views, the first look video for Scorpion, a show about geniuses working for the US government, was by far the most popular offering from CBS.

So is the success of these videos an indication of the success they’ll have on TV? We’ll have to wait until after all of the pilots air (some of them have already; check those DVRs!) and the dust settles to see if NBC can win both on YouTube and on Television.

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