Airing ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Delivered Strong Ratings For ABC and a Boost for Hulu
Facing a dearth of scripted television series due to last year’s WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, Disney turned to its treasure trove of streaming content and aired the hit Hulu series Only Murders in the Building on ABC.
After years of studios keeping their streaming content away from linear in an attempt to drive people to subscribe, the divide between traditional television and streaming is crumbling.
As the mad dash for new streaming subscribers has ended, with Wall Street now far more concerned with profitability than subscriber count, studios have begun to test the water and air some streaming series on linear television.
‘Only Murders’ Delivers Strong Ratings
As it turns out, giving non-streaming fans a glimpse at proven streaming hits has shown to be a massive success.
Only Murders in the Building managed to drive an impressive 11 million viewers on ABC. Perhaps more importantly, however, viewers then migrated over to Hulu to continue watching the show.
According to ABC and Hulu boss Craig Erwich, the first streams of Only Murders in the Building rose by 40% on Hulu after its ABC debut, and hours streamed rose by 49%.
“Again, underscoring how these platforms are additive and complementary to one another. This experiment created an incredible opportunity for us and our audience. As we evolve the broadcast model, this is something we will look to do again,” he added.
Will More Streaming Series Hit Linear?
While it is not clear at this time if there are plans to air Only Murders Season 2 on ABC, Erwich has been encouraged by the results so far.
“You can imagine watching Abbott Elementary and Only Murders In The Building in the same session. That’s why we think the experiment was very successful, we were really happy.”
The success of Only Murders in the Building shows that streaming and linear can not only co-exist but be mutually beneficial for each other.
“We’re certainly open to doing it with Only Murders again and or other shows. When we look at both ABC and Hulu, it’s one big chessboard, so you’re able to see where certain audiences watch certain shows, some migrate from one platform to another,” Erwich explains.
“Only Murders was really a perfect show to put on ABC, not only did we know that not a lot of people had watched it yet, as popular as it is, which is hard to believe, but Only Murders has that broad, comedic, aspirational tone and quality that I think aligns very well with the ABC brand.”