In an attempt to woo new customers, the company is posting the first episode of British mini-series The Enfield Haunting to Facebook this Saturday. The episode will be available for three days, followed by a second wave timed to coincide with Halloween.
It is the first time a Canadian entertainment company has posted a full episode of a TV show to the social network, though Rita Ferrari, Shomi’s director, product and brand marketing, said the tactic has previously been used in the U.S.
The partnership with Facebook will see Shomi deliver the first episode of The Enfield Haunting, in standard-definition, to Canadians who have demonstrated a passion for entertainment and movies – and a specific interest in the mystery and horror genres.
Shomi is hoping to generate 15 million impressions with the initiative, said Ferrari.
The tactic enables the company to reach both its existing customers, who might share the episode with people in their network, while also exposing potential new subscribers to the service, said Ferrari.
She called the Facebook initiative “a bit of a test” for Shomi, which was opened up to all Canadians on Aug. 20 after being exclusive for Shaw and Rogers customers when if first launched. “We’ve been testing a lot of tactics to see what resonates best with our prospective customers,” said Ferrari.
She called The Enfield Haunting an “obvious” choice for the initiative, given that Halloween is the time of year when viewing for horror and thriller titles increases. “In social, stuff that’s timely tends to really be effective,” she said.
The social initiative will also enable Shomi to track how many people started watching the free episode and how long they watched for. “There are a number of different metrics we’ll be looking at to determine how effective the program was,” she said. “If it’s successful, we’ll likely continue to use the tactic.”
While Shomi doesn’t disclose subscriber numbers, Ferrari said it surpassed its free trial acquisition targets for both August and September. While cautioning it’s still “early days,” Ferrari said consumer uptake has been particularly strong in Newfoundland and the Prairie Provinces.
An estimated 70% of Shomi’s non-kids content (excluding movies) is currently exclusive to Canada, said Ferrari. TV shows account for as much as 80% of viewing on the service, though Ferrari said executives are “quite pleased” with how movies are performing on the service. Movie viewership tends to spike on weekends, when viewers have more free time, she said.
Shomi has also created a Facebook event page for its nearly 132,000 followers.
Based on real-life events, The Enfield Haunting is a three-part mini-series based on the best-selling book This House is Haunted, which documents a family terrorized by paranormal activity in mid-1970s London.