Starz to Stream Episodes of Shane Dawson Series Ahead of Premiere

/ Aug 29, 2014


It’s not exactly uncommon for TV networks to put the first episode of new shows on digital platforms as a way to build anticipation for the on-air premiere. But with Starz’s upcoming documentary series, “The Chair,” it makes a bit more sense.

The show stars YouTuber Shane Dawson as one of two filmmakers competing to direct a feature-length film from the same script, with the same budget, in the same city. Across 10 episodes, “The Chair” will chronicle the creation, marketing, and theatrical release of the film, which is an adaptation of Dan Schoffer’s comedy “How Soon Is Now.”

The winning filmmaker — Dawson is competing with indie filmmaker Anna Martemucci — will also receive $250,000, which will be determined by an audience vote.

“The Chair” will premiere on Starz at 11pm on Saturday, September 6, with new episodes rolling out every Saturday night. But for those who subscribe to Starz and have downloaded the network’s TV Everywhere app, Starz Play, the first five episodes will be available in advance on September 6, ahead of their TV premieres.

Why? You know why. But here’s a quote from Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, who confirms that it’s to entice those who are increasingly watching content on-demand and on digital platforms:

“Starz is making the first five episodes of ‘The Chair’ available on the same day of the television premiere of the series to reach a young adult population that is in the vanguard of ‘bingeing’ on shows as their preferred method of viewing,” said Albrecht in the statement. “Starz is always interested in moving the premium programming model forward with strategies that are attuned to the projected audience demos of the show.”

The fact that one of the contestants is Dawson, who has a massive digital presence — 12+ million subscribers on YouTube across multiple channels, 2.15 million Twitter followers — also helps.

Starz owns domestic multi-platform pay TV rights to the series, its first unscripted original program.

“The Chair” is created by Chris Moore, executive producer of “Project Greenlight” and co-producer of “Good Will Hunting.” Moore, along with actor Zachary Quinto and his producing partners Corey Moosa and Neal Dodson, will appear in the series as mentors for both filmmakers.

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