The early release of the first episode of the much-anticipated new series from Issa Rae – “Insecure” – seems to have been a smart idea by HBO, which meant that audiences who watched the premiere on-demand, before its actual debut date (last night, Sunday, October 9, at 10:30pm), weren’t forced to decide on whether to watch “Insecure,” or the second (and also much-anticipated) presidential debate (which was certainly a draw, with over 60 million people tuning in).

The early episode 1 release (which was available a full 2 weeks before its on-air premiere date on HBO Go, HBO Now and HBO On Demand) drew a combined 601,000 viewers, which was 16,000 more than the number of viewers who watched the episode when it aired on HBO, twice on Sunday night. So in total, as of today’s numbers (as reported by HBO), “Insecure” can claim roughly of 1.18 million viewers for its first episode.

That figure is expected to increase, of course, leading up to the second episode next Sunday night.

But 1.1 million viewers total so far is a strong start for the series, although how HBO is grading its success isn’t information I have at this time. Given that it’s based on a very popular web series, and its audience likely comprises of mostly young-ish, tech-forward viewers – some who may be cord-cutters and thus aren’t cable TV subscribers (and so don’t have HBO) – I wonder if/how HBO will work to ensure that they capture as much of that audience as possible. Making the first episode available on YouTube (for FREE) this evening, a day after its premiere, is certainly a good start. Those without cable can now watch it, and just may decide to subscribe to HBO (the standalone streaming service for example), so that they can watch the rest of the season of the series. Unless HBO plans to release each episode on YouTube for FREE after they air; and I don’t think that’s going to happen. The point of the business after all, is to continue to attract new subscribers.

So, yes, you can watch episode 1 of “Insecure” right now, for FREE, embedded below.

Created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore, the comedy series launches its eight-episode first season, starring Issa and Yvonne Orji as 2 friends (who also happen to be black women, which could be a first for HBO – a series centered around the lives of 2 young black women) navigating relationships, uncomfortable experiences and racy tribulations.

Over the course of the season, Issa attempts to figure out what she wants out of life and how to take control of it, while fumbling her way through this journey. Molly (Orji), a corporate attorney who appears to have everything together professionally, struggles inside as she looks for external ways to fix her life. Meanwhile, Issa’s boyfriend, Lawrence (Jay Ellis), who has fallen victim to complacency, works to get his own act together. Frieda (Lisa Joyce), Issa’s overeager white co-worker, whose enthusiasm is both annoying and endearing, is at the crux of Issa’s racial frustrations at work.

Created and executive produced by Issa Rae, the series is also executive produced by Prentice Penny, Melina Matsoukas, Michael Rotenberg, Dave Beck, Jonathan Berry, and Larry Wilmore as a consultant.

Last month, Issa Rae inked a 2-year first-look production deal with HBO which will see Ms. Rae develop new programming for all of HBO’s platforms, with an emphasis on diverse voices.

Watch episode 1 of “Insecure” below: