The 30 for 30 documentary mini-series “O.J.: Made in America” debuted on ABC last night and the four subsequent installments will air on ESPN throughout this week. However, for those who have gotten used to watching an entire series at one’s convenience, they’ll have the opportunity to do so with the five-part series this week.
While the rest of the series will air on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN, viewers can start watching the entire series this Tuesday via the WatchESPN app.
We’ve seen other networks release an entire series such as TBS with Angie Tribeca and NBC and Showtime have released premieres of certain series ahead of their air dates, but this is the first time for ESPN.
Lori LeBas, ESPN senior vice president of affiliate partnerships and operations told the Los Angeles Times, “As we were thinking about the compelling nature of this content, it became more and more clear that there might be people who may want to sit down and watch the whole thing.”
It’s all part of the marketing of O.J.: Made in America into a big event. It has already been screened in seleted movie theaters in New York and Los Angeles in an attempt to get the documentary some Oscar buzz. Plus by streaming the entire series online, ESPN joins Netflix, Hulu and Amazon in allowing a series to be binge watched online.
The L.A. Times says if the online sampling is successful, ESPN may put its entire 30 for 30 library online. But Netflix currently has rights to the 30 for 30 documentaries. And Netflix saw success with its “Making a Murderer” six-part series showing that a multi-part documentary can find an audience.
In this day and age of shrinking cable audiences due to cord cutting and cord shaving, ESPN is hoping that it can stem the tide a bit by releasing the entire O.J.: Made in America series. We’ll see if it’s a success.
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