>> In this age of TV cord cutting, a new strategy is emerging among cable networks that once seemed unthinkable. Posting episodes of shows online first before airing them on TV. The new move, employed by Turner, Discovery, and ESPN, meant to reverse online migration by snaring those streaming viewers, most of whom are younger, and bringing them back to TV.
Reuters' media correspondent, Jessica Toonkel.>> I think it's interesting because they're realizing, we can't fight it, so we may as well use it to kind of bring people in. It kinda shows how the networks are just kind of desperate to do anything they can to try to lure younger viewers to their content.
>> Turner has streamed five shows premiers for free on Facebook and YouTube, one of them it's new family crime drama Animal Kingdom. The network says 16% of those online viewers, roughly 960,000 people came back to watch the show on TV. But there's a risk, as offering online freebies could upset the giant cable providers who pay hefty sums to networks to carry their content.
>> If you are, let's say, Charter or Comcast and have a deal with Turner, and their shows are online first, they're like, hey wait a minute, why am I paying all this money? Now that's a gamble for them, cuz if they upset their pay TV partners, that's their bread and butter.
>> Discovery ID network taking a slightly different tack. Streaming its shows solely on its own network app, available to viewers who already pay extra to include the network in their cable package. Discovery ID streamed the second episode of its mini series about Casey Anthony, the Florida mom acquitted of killing her young daughter, then re-aired it on TV the next night.
It became the highest rated second episode of any of the network series.