Recent Netflix premieres like Jessica Jones and Master of None have generated a lot of buzz, but with its latest promotional ploy, the streaming video service is looking to get some eyeballs on one of its less-heralded original programs. It has posted the first episode of its true crime documentary series Making a Murderer on YouTube.
Making a Murderer tells the story of Steven Avery, who was convicted of rape, sent to jail, and later exonerated based on DNA evidence. After his release, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Some outlets have described the 10-episode series as Netflix’s answer to Serial, the hugely popular NPR podcast that recently returned for its second season.
The first episode of Making a Murderer runs for just over an hour and introduces Avery’s story. It arrived on YouTube on December 18th, the same day the entire series became available to stream on Netflix. American and Canadian viewers are welcome to check out the premiere installment to see if the series suits them.
Netflix’s choice to offer the Making a Murderer premiere for free resembles the strategy employed by several other cable networks and streaming video services. HBO has also made use of ad-supported platforms like YouTube and Yahoo, where it has posted the first episodes of new seasons of The Leftovers and Girls. Hulu prefers to share free premieres on its own service, with its premium subscribers invited to log in and continue watching.
Not to be outdone, this is Netflix’s first experiment with the free, ad-supported window. The Making A Murderer premiere has already received six-digit views on YouTube, so perhaps we will more Netflix shows offered up to the public down the line.