HBO Offering 'The Pacific' Premiere for Free Online Streaming
by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 16th 2010 5:00PM
Reviews of the first installment of HBO's ten-part mini-series 'The Pacific' have been mixed -- I liked it, though -- and ratings figures aren't in yet. Nevertheless, the network has taken the bold step of putting that entire episode online for free viewing; you can catch it here. Is it a response to poor ratings -- even though we don't know those figures yet, the network likely does -- or just an attempt to lure people in who don't already have HBO?
The premiere was more style over substance, which is one of the major problems critics had with it, but it did offer some stunning visuals and established an atmosphere very different than 'Band of Brothers.' As a companion piece of sorts to the modern classic 'Brothers,' brought to us by the same production team including Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, expectations were pretty high for 'The Pacific' coming out of the gate.
If it underperformed per HBO's expectations, making that entire first episode available to all potential viewers might just be the thing to convince at least some of them to upgrade their cable or satellite service. It's not the first time a premium cable network has streamed episodes of one of their shows online. Showtime did so with a season premiere of 'The L Word,' and HBO offered the first week of episodes for their own 'In Treatment' when it debuted.
In the case of 'In Treatment,' it was an attempt to bolster sagging ratings, though an analysis of whether or not the tactic worked is hard to come by. The series has gone on to subsequent success, but it had a lot of buzz and press covering it as well. 'The Pacific' hasn't received nearly as much attention as 'Band of Brothers' did in 2001, so HBO is putting their product where their mouth is with this marketing tactic. It's highly unlikely the second episode will show up on the site as well.
For now, you can click over and check it out for yourself. If you dig what you see, you have until Sunday at 9 PM ET to sign up for HBO so you won't miss the premiere of the second episode.