Lilley himself was concerned over the pre-release of the entirety his new series Jonah from Tonga to ABC’s iview platform. As it turns out he needn’t have been – some great figures across the previous weekend (and, in my opinion, it’s a stronger series that Ja’mie). From the press release:
The ABC created an Australian first for audiences, serving up the ultimate binge-fest with Chris Lilley’s series JONAH FROM TONGA having its world premiere on ABC iview in a weekend-long event. With the ABC initiative replicated in the UK by BBC Three, the binge weekend was a global event that created an international buzz on social media.
ABC iview, Australia’s leading online TV platform, gave superfans the chance to watch every episode of the new six-part series, online and on mobile devices, wherever and whenever they wanted to from 6pm Friday May 2 until 6pm Sunday May 4 AEST.
During the 48 hours there were 551,000 plays of JONAH FROM TONGA making it the most played program on iview over the weekend.
Activity to iview was up 50% over the two days compared to April, peaking on Saturday with a total of 976,000 program plays. And JONAH FROM TONGA delivered 30% of those plays.
“ABC TV is committed to innovation in new platforms to connect audiences with our incredible Australian-made shows and I’m over the moon viewers have embraced our bold initiative to preview the show before its first traditional TV broadcast on Wednesday night,” said ABC Director of Television, Richard Finlayson.
“The Jonah preview binge re-writes the traditional TV rule book but is also creating huge anticipation for the broadcast premiere at 9pm this Wednesday night.”
“Big congratulations go to Chris Lilley and Laura Waters from Princess Pictures, who had the guts and foresight to support this initiative in advance of the series launch on ABC1 and BBC Three this week,” he said.
The ABC was the first into the online video market with iview in 2008. Today, with more than 15 million monthly program plays*, iview is Australia’s most accessible TV on demand service, available on 15 connected platforms including computers, tablets, smart phones, internet-enabled TVs, gaming consoles and set top boxes. ABC audiences need never miss a moment.
Chris Lilley, who’s en route back to Australia to support the Australian premiere on ABC1, adds: “I’m overwhelmed by the positive fan reaction to JONAH FROM TONGA. It seems that people really do like watching a whole series in one hit. I’m really excited for everyone to experience Episode 1 again on Wednesday night on ABC1. It’s the kind of show you can watch multiple times and find the things you didn’t notice the first time.”
JONAH FROM TONGA will screen Wednesday nights from May 7 at 9pm on ABC1, with each episode being made available again on iview after broadcast.