The Kyle XY Experiment

One show, many platforms.

What Disney -ABC digital-media guru Albert Cheng calls the “branded multiplatform ecosystem” is a lot more complicated than old-fashioned TV programming, when all you had to do was pick a single time slot. Here’s how ABC Family handled last year’s premiere for Kyle XY, a drama about a boy with no memory–and no belly button.

  1. iTunes
    Free download, June 21–29
    An unconventional and heavily promoted prelaunch release, with no ads, designed to generate early buzz.

  2. ABC family
    June 26
    The cable channel’s most successful premiere, with a record 2.6 million viewers.

  3. ABC
    June 30
    A cameo on the network’s summer schedule gave the show big-time exposure and referred viewers back to ABC Family.

  4. iTunes
    $1.99/download, June 30–Present
    No more free downloads. Subsequent episodes go on sale the day after TV broadcast.

  5. ABC Family On Demand
    $39.99/month, July 1–August 1
    Allowed Verizon FiOS TV customers to watch the pilot on their own time.

    Free streaming, July 5–Present
    Yes, free. The only catch: You have to watch three 30-second ads, a fraction of the number you see on TV.

  7. DVD Release
    $40, May 2007
    All of season one for your DVD library, just before the start of season two.


About the author

Chuck Salter is a senior editor at Fast Company and a longtime award-winning feature writer for the magazine. In addition to his print, online and video stories, he performs live reported narratives at various conferences, and he edited the Fast Company anthologies Breakthrough Leadership, Hacking Hollywood, and #Unplug