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Early-Bird Release

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Sometimes, the owners of a work might release it in another form of media before it makes its "official" debut on television or theaters, either to get people invested or interested in what's to come, or to get people to spread the word through critics or general word-of-mouth.

This is usually the case for a Bonus Episode on a DVD release for a show. Compare Short Run in Peru, where this is the case for works outside their native countries. Contrast Content Leak, where the release is accidental.



Film - Animation

Live-Action TV

  • All in the Family: The infamous "Edith's 50th Birthday", due to its depiction and discussion of rape, was released for showings in police stations before it was shown on television.
  • Jonah from Tonga: The entire series was available for streaming for one weekend on BBC iPlayer and ABC iview before being shown on BBC Three and ABC1.
  • Married... with Children: The Banned Episode "I'll See You in Court" made its debut on the Most Outrageous Episodes, Vol. 1 DVD before making its TV debut on FX.
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  • Nowhere Boys: When Season 1 was shown in the UK, they were released onto BBC iPlayer before airing on CBBC.

Western Animation

  • American Dad!: The episode "Blonde Ambition", the first following the Channel Hop to TBS, was available for free viewing on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook for 48 hours before its TV premiere.
  • Green Lantern: The Animated Series: The episode "Steam Lantern" was pulled from the Cartoon Network schedule at the last second on its intended airdate, but that didn't stop them from releasing it on iTunes and Amazon.
  • Kim Possible: The episode "Partners" was released on DVD as part of The Secret Files before it aired on TV six months later.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series: The episode "Link" was released first as an extra on the Leroy And Stitch DVD a month before its TV airing.
  • The Loud House:
    • Prior to the series premiere on May 2, 2016, Nick premiered two full-length episodes on and other platforms like iTunes for free ahead of the premiere; "A Tale of Two Tables" and "The Sweet Spot" were released on April 1st, while "Hand-Me-Downer" and "Sleuth or Consequences" came out on April 15th.
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    • Similarly, the episode "Head Poet's Anxiety" was released on Amazon ten days before its TV premiere due to being paired with "Teacher's Union".
    • The "Tripped!" special was released to Amazon on May 5, 2018, the day it was originally supposed to air. When Amazon realized that Nickelodeon delayed the special's airing, they removed it from the website until it actually aired a month later.
  • Mickey Mouse (2013): The Halloween Special "The Scariest Story Ever" was released on the Mickey Mouse: Merry & Scary DVD before airing on TV.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • "Wonderbolts Academy" was released on a few days before its TV premiere, and on iTunes a few hours before.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Several episodes appeared on DVD before airing on TV.
    • "One Good Scare Ought to Do It!" first appeared on The Fast and the Phineas.
    • "Unfair Science Fair" and "Unfair Science Fair Redux" first appeared on The Daze of Summer.
    • "The Doof Side of the Moon" first appeared on A Very Perry Christmas.
  • Rick and Morty: The episode "Rixty Minutes" was released three days early on Instagram in a series of 15-second installments.
  • Rugrats: The episodes "Hiccups" and "Autumn Leaves" made their debuts on the VHS release Dr. Tommy Pickles.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: The Season 2 premiere "The Night the Clown Cried" was released on four months before airing on TV.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • "Club SpongeBob" and "Graveyard Shift" appeared on the Nautical Nonsense and Sponge Buddies VHS/DVD releases before airing on TV.
    • "SpongeBob Meets the Strangler" and "Pranks a Lot" appeared on the VHS/DVD release The Seascape Capers months before airing on TV.
    • "New Leaf" appeared on the Karate Island DVD two months before airing on TV.
    • All the episodes on the Bikini Bottom Adventures DVD appeared there before airing on TV.
  • Since the middle of its fourth season, the majority of Steven Universe episode have been released on Cartoon Network's website and video-on before airing on TV:
    • The five-episode Out of This World Story Arc was released online almost a month before its TV debut. However, all episodes but the first ("Steven's Dream") were taken down within a day, which has lead people to believe the others were only up by accident.
    • The last five episodes of season four aired over the course of one workweek, but went up online the Friday before.
    • The first four episodes of season five premiered together on Memorial Day as the hour-long special Wanted, but the first episode ("Stuck Together") was shown online as a sneak peak about three weeks early.
    • The six episodes from "Dewey Wins" to "Kevin Party" went up online over a month before they started premiering on TV two-per-week.
    • The four episodes from "Your Mother and Mine" to "Letters to Lars" were posted two weeks before they started airing once a week on TV.
    • "Legs From Here to Homeworld" was posted five months in advance of the TV airing, one day after its premiere at San Diego Comic-Con 2018.
  • Young Justice: Similar to the Green Lantern example above, "Before the Dawn" was pulled from the schedule a mere hours before it was to air, but that didn't stop it from getting released on iTunes. It went on to become the top-selling show on the store that day.
  • Because of Schedule Slip, the Dragon Tales episode "Cowboy Max" premiered on the DVD "Whenever I'm Afraid..." a month before airing on TV.

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