Netflix releases first episode of Making a Murderer for free on YouTube
James R | On 20, Dec 2015
Netflix has released the first episode of Making a Murderer for free on YouTube.
The move is an unprecedented one for the streaming giant: Netflix has always operated behind a strict wall of secrecy, from concealing its ratings to not allowing non-subscribers to see its full catalogue. While Sky has experimented with YouTube distribution before, this is the first time that Netflix has ever released anything for free online.
The decision is perhaps tied to the programme’s format itself: a true crime documentary series, Making a Murderer taps into the same vein that Serial has opened up in the last year, going on to become a huge hit. For Netflix, attracting that same kind of following, particularly around the holiday period, when people have more free time to binge on shows, would be key to its plans to grow around the world. Opening up its first episode, designed to hook viewers in for the next, could prove an effective way to catch the attention of Serial fans – and also give an indication of which countries could be potentially profitable markets. (“please please NETFLIX come into Lithuania,” reads the first comment on the video.)
Set in Americas Heartland, Making a Murderer follows the harrowing story of Steven Avery, an outsider from the wrong side of the tracks, convicted and later exonerated of a brutal assault. His release triggered major criminal justice reform legislation, and he filed a lawsuit that threatened to expose corruption in local law enforcement and award him millions of dollars.
But in the midst of his very public civil case, he found himself the prime suspect in a grisly new crime. Inspired by a newspaper article from 2005, directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos have spent the last decade documenting the tale that spans more than 30 years, examining allegations of police and prosecutorial misconduct, evidence tampering and witness coercion.
So far, the first episode has just under 80,000 views within two days of being released. Will the taster be enough to get people addicted? Watch it below and find out:
All 10 episodes of Making a Murderer are available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.