Binge hit ... Chris Lilley as his latest creation, Jonah from Tonga. Photo: Supplied
An experiment by the ABC to release an entire series on its digital platform iview before it hits TV screens nationally appears to have paid off.
Chris Lilley's Jonah from Tonga was the most played program on ABC iview over the weekend with 551,000 plays, a statement from the ABC said.
The entire six-part series, which premieres nationally on ABC tomorrow 9pm, was available to viewers from 6pm Friday May 2 until 6pm Sunday May 4.
It remains to be seen whether the online debut of the series based on delinquent schoolboy Jonah Takalua will impact the TV ratings.
The ABC said iview activity was up 50 per cent over the two days compared with April.
It peaked on Saturday with 976,000 program plays and Jonah from Tonga delivered 30 per cent of those plays, the statement said.
ABC Director of Television, Richard Finlayson said he was "over the moon" that viewers embraced the preview.
Lilley said he was overwhelmed by the positive reaction from fans.
"It seems that people really do like watching a whole series in one hit," he said in the statement.
The strategy of first airing episodes online and releasing all episodes before being screened on TV isn't new.
Earlier this year, the Nine Network made available online the first four episodes of its Australian made drama Love Child to 20,000 viewers.
In the US, Netflix released all 10 episodes of the second season of the Emmy award-winning production House of Cards to its customers at once.
Jonah From Tonga will screen Wednesday nights from May 7 at 9pm on ABC1, and iview after each broadcast.