The season two premiere of HBO oddball comedy series Flight of the Conchords has gotten over 250,000 views in the past two weeks on humor web site Funny or Die.
A partnership between HBO and the Funny or Die comedy site from Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (which HBO has a stake in) led to the early streaming of the episode, in order to drum up buzz. It’s a great way to generate more publicity for a quirky series that doesn’t quite have the mainstream appeal of, say, Sex and the City (which, in my humble opinion, is a very good thing, even if it’s not a cash cow — yet). I’m pretty sure a Google Maps- and Flickr-enabled virtual tour of a series’ setting is a lot better for the environment than cupcake-fueled, gas-guzzling bus tours of New York City.
While we’re not sure exactly what numbers HBO is expecting (the first season’s episodes got about a million viewers upon initial airing), the Funny or Die view counts indicate a pretty solid performance. However, as NewTeeVee points out, it’s hard to compare old and new media, since 950,000 viewers of season one’s finale on subscription-based HBO isn’t the same as 266,604 streams (the latest count) on a free web site, especially since you don’t know how many individuals watched the latter. And it doesn’t make sense to compare the second season premiere views with the 100,000 views the series’ first season opener got on MySpace last year, as The Hollywood Reporter does, because the series is much more popular now than it was a year ago, loved by both critics and Urban Outfitters shoppers.
A trailer for Ferrell and McKay’s upcoming HBO comedy series Eastbound & Down runs right after the Conchords episode, which is a smart tie-in.http://player.ordienetworks.com/flash/fodplayer.swf