If you missed the premiere of HBO’s two newest comedy series, Ballers and The Brink, you’ll be able to watch them for free on Facebook for a limited time. It’s the first time HBO is offering free access to full episodes of its programming on the social media platform in order to drum up interest both in the new shows and its recently-launched streaming service HBO Now. HBO will gain huge awareness for its Ballers (and HBO Now), which is hosted on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Facebook page with nearly 50 million followers. The Brink doesn’t have the same social clout on the service, with just 23,000 followers.
Ballers, which has Johnson as the star and exec producer, takes a dive into the lives of former and current football players. Based in Miami, “The Rock” stars as a retired defensive end who helps fellow football players with business ventures. While creator Steve Levinson (Entourage) depicts glitz and glamor, it also shows a world of former NFL players figuring out what to do next.
The Brink, created by Weeds‘ Roberto Benabib, is a bit more of shot in the dark. Set in Pakistan, the satire features a diplomat (Jack Black), a Cabinet official (Tim Robbins), and a Navy fighter pilot (Pablo Schreiber) trying to make sense of a geopolitical crisis. HBO brands it as a ‘dark comedy,’ and Benabib has said Dr. Strangelove was an inspiration. It’s a political comedy, although one that is set with potential world decimation as its premise sounds a little more depressing than funny.
The partnership, which comes on the heels of the network’s over-the-top streaming service launched in April, also promotes the cord-cutting HBO Now. Both series premieres mention in a short intro tailored for Facebook that upcoming episodes will be available to watch on the service (as well as on the premium cable network). The stand-alone service is available for $15 per month through Apple and Cablevision Optimum Online.
While this is the first time HBO has made a full episode available on Facebook, the network has has released free premieres of shows on YouTube (Girls, The Newsroom) and even Yahoo Screen (The Leftovers) in the past.