iHeartRadio hearts video too, premiering NBC pilot

The streaming-music service turns video platform too, in a small way, hosting the first episode of NBC comedy series "A to Z" nearly two months before it's set to air.

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Ben Feldman and Cristin Milioti star in "A to Z," an NBC show that will premiere on digital platforms like iHeartRadio Trae Patton/NBC

iHeartRadio is adding a bigger dash of visual to its audio, as NBC will premiere the pilot of new show "A to Z" on the digital-music platform seven weeks before the network puts it on the airwaves.

The first episode of the show -- a boy-meets-girl comedy -- will be available Thursday on digital properties owned by radio giant Clear Channel, including streaming-music platform iHeart, as well as its contemporary radio station websites.

iHeart has hosted some video before, such as artist performances, but nothing on the level of the the "A to Z" debut.

The deal is the latest blurring of the lines of new-media platforms, which has occurred at other digital media outlets that diversify into different forms like news sources Vice and Buzzfeed, or is expected to occur at places like YouTube, the Google giant in user-generated video that is expected to launch a streaming-music service this year.

Services founded as streaming-music sites, however, have generally kept their diversification pretty close to the main mission -- serving up music.

"A to Z" has a bit of a musical bent -- the music on the show is geared toward millennials, people generally grouped as those between ages 18 and 30, and the music supervisor for the series was responsible for soundtracks in the "Twilight" series, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Gossip Girl."

Len Fogge, president of NBC Entertainment marketing and digital, said the network opted for the digital premiere, including iHeart , because it wanted to get the show out in front of an audience before the clutter of fall TV premieres and its millennial target audience made multiple platforms a natural move.

NBC, which is owned by cable behemoth Comcast, will make the pilot episode available on its apps and on Hulu, the streaming video site partly owned by NBC alongside rival broadcasters ABC and Fox. The deal is both paid and promotional, said Adrienne Pabst, Clear Channel senior vice president of connections, but she declined to detail terms further.

"A to Z" will debut on NBC's network on October 2 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.

 

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