Critics like “In Treatment,” HBO’s psychotherapy serial, but viewers don’t. It’s one of the lowest-rated original series HBO has ever aired. HBO’s mantra is that it cares about subscribers, not ratings, but that doesn’t work if no one’s watching.
Solution? Give the show away for free. Last week HBO started streaming the first 15 (of 43) half-hour episodes on its own web site. And now it’s putting full-length episodes on its newly-launched YouTube channel. Also available on the site: Shorter clips of higher-rated fare, like Entourage, The Wire, and Flight of the Conchords.
YouTube helped build buzz for the Conchords, which makes sense. That show is a series of Web-ready goofy sketches and songs. But “In Treatment” is dark and slow-moving — a much harder sell for twitchy YouTubers. The first episode of the show, posted last week, has drawn 37,760 views — about 30% less than this clip:
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