MTV To Premiere Milonakis on iTunes

In an unusual move, MTV announced today it is making the entire six-episide third season of The Andy Milonakis Show available via Apple’s iTunes store more than a month before its debut on the company’s MTV2 cable channel. Individual episodes will also be available via a plethora of digital video services, including Amazon Unbox, AOL Video, Wal-Mart Video Down,ods, Xbox Live Marketplace, and MTV’s own digital video services prior to the show’s on-channel premiere. iTunes will offer the first episode as a free download March 20 to March 27.

“Our audience is spending as much time on the Internet, their mobile phones and with video games as watching TV and they want to be able to control how, when and on which platforms they can access and watch the programming and content they love,” said Brian Graden, MTV Music Group and Logo president. “Because The Andy Milonakis Show was born from the Internet, we felt that it was the perfect vehicle to experiment with a new distribution strategy in which we premiere an entire season of a returning series via digital outlets prior to its on-air debut. This strategy allows us to reach as many viewers as possible to view this show on the platforms that they choose.”

For the uninitiated—and there must be a few of you—The Andy Milnakis Show started with a series of Internet shorts and blossomed into a comedy series on the MTV and MTV2 cable channels. The original premise was the youthful Andy stock is his Lower East Side apartment and, um…”interacting” with his neighbors, plants, pets, and nearby objects. The third season of the show sees Andy take on Los Angeles; guest appearances in the season include Hilary Duff, Paul Reubens, Bow Wow, and Sarah Silverman.

MTV plans to promote the show through extensive “viral video” campaigns, and, just so people watch the cable episodes even if they tap into digital editions early, each cable episode will include a URL enabling fans to access “secret shows” of bonus content.

It’s unclear whether offering shows for sale via iTunes and other online video stores before their initial broadcast can be an effective promotional tools: networks and studios have made similar efforts with pilots, but never with a show’s entire season. Of course, for The Andy Milonakis Show, a season is just six episodes, so MTV is somewhat less exposed than, say, a major network offering 22 multi million-dollar episodes of an action-drama.