Resistance is futile: no matter which non-linear platform you visit, beginning May 27, USA Network's new hacker drama Mr. Robot will find you.
In what the network is calling one of the broadest-reaching pre-linear distribution plans in cable television history, USA will launch the Mr. Robot pilot May 27 on a slew of English and Hispanic VOD, digital and TV Everywhere platforms. The episode will be available via the USA Now app, USANetwork.com, Hulu, YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Vudu, Xbox Video, PlayStation Video and M-Go until the June 24 TV premiere.
Additionally, the show will be offered on Twitch, IMDB, EW.com, THR.com, The Verge.com, Telemundo.com, Terra.com, Latina.com and 22 sites in the Crave Online network through June 5. And USA is in talks with additional partners.
"It is more important than ever to push boundaries in order to break through the clutter and reach new audiences," said Chris McCumber, president, USA Network. "Mr. Robot, which has already garnered awards before it has even aired, gives us a unique opportunity to make some noise and drive word of mouth through this innovative pre-linear strategy."
Mr. Robot follows a cyber-security engineer moonlighting as a hacker (Rami Malek), who is recruited by Christian Slater to take down the firm he works for. The drama premiered at SXSW in March, where it won the audience award.
While USA has previously premiered pilots on VOD, including its drama Graceland two summer ago, the network has never launched a pre-linear digital distribution of this magnitude.
In addition to targeting millennials with its ambitious pre-linear strategy, USA is also making a strong push for Hispanic audiences. The network will release a version of the pilot with Spanish-language subtitles on various on-demand platforms, including Xfinity On Demand and YouTube, along with Hispanic sites like Telemundo.com, Terra.com and Latina.com. Beginning in June, USA will close-caption all original series and new theatrical films in both English and Spanish.
"Our goal is to get as many influential, diverse and passionate general-market and Hispanic fan bases to watch the pilot well in advance of its linear premiere so they become evangelists for the series," said Alexandra Shapiro, evp, marketing and digital.
McCumber has been praising Mr. Robot's ambition and potential since ordering the show to series last December. With the recent Sony hack, "clearly, this couldn't be a more timely or more culturally resonant series," he said earlier this year.
The network desperately wants Mr. Robot to succeed after failing to launch a hit series in recent years to replace now-departed stalwarts like White Collar and Burn Notice. While USA has been the most-watched ad-supported network in total viewers for the past nine years, as well as among women ages 18-49 and 25-54 last year, its anticipated new spring series, Dig, didn't have the splash it had hoped for (despite drawing 5.8 million viewers in live-plus-three in its debut), and it isn't a lock for a renewal.
Last month, the network canceled its comedy Sirens, which aired for two seasons.