The Sci-fi epic is being praised as best original series on HBO Max
The first episode of “Raised by Wolves”, the new sci-fi series by director Ridley Scott, is now available to watch for free compliments of HBO Max.
HBO Max’s YouTube Channel has been carrying the first installment of the 10-part series since Sept. 4.
It got uploaded to YouTube with little fanfare or promotion by parent company WarnerMedia.
The good news for WarnerMedia is that critics are heaping praise on the series.
Raised by Wolves was originally intended to be a sci-fi series for TNT, but got moved to HBO Max last year. The series begins with the Earth besieged by war between the atheists and believers.
Two androids are sent by the atheists to a habitable planet with a number of fertilized embryos. The mission is to start a new civilization for the human race. Earth is becoming no longer habitable in part because of the war.
The first three episodes are already on HBO Max. Episodes four and five drop today. Scott directed the first two episodes. The series was created by writer Aaron Guzikowski.
The lack of promotion for the free episode might have been a missed opportunity for the streaming service.
On Friday — the same day that free episode was uploaded to YouTube — HBO Max started a major push for new subscribers.
Subscribers can get a discounted rate of $11.99 per month if they pay for a full year of the service in advance. HBO Max regularly costs $14.99 per month. The offer is valid until Sept. 25.
The critically-lauded episode was uploaded at the beginning of Labor Day weekend when people arguably had more leisure time to watch TV. (There are just over a half million views of the first episode a week later.)
HBO Max has encountered a number of speed bumps since it launched on May 27.
One month ago, WarnerMedia’s new CEO Jason Kilar restructured HBO Max’s gameplan, leading to the departure of three top executives. Kilar told a number of media outlets, including The New York Times, that the focus would be to emphasize HBO Max to ensure its a leading player among streaming services.
Having access to a nugget of HBO Max’s catalog is ironic for many disenfranchised HBO subscribers. WarnerMedia has yet to strike a deal to bring HBO Max to Roku or Amazon’s variety of streaming hardware.
About 5 million Amazon Prime subscribers get HBO by paying for it through Amazon Channels. Roku has about 40 million active accounts, a share of which get HBO through Roku billing.
Now anyone with a Roku or Amazon Fire TV device can get a sample of the HBO Max experience. Is this a power play between a streaming company and two tech giants? I doubt anyone is going to run out and buy a new streaming device just watch Raised by Wolves.
But offering a free, full episode of a series on YouTube is a new avenue for streaming services to get their original shows in front of a mass audience at little-to-no cost.