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read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 8th Jan 2003, 12:07, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

This discussion also has some interesting suggestions for saving Farscape and what the actors are doing now. Ben Browder as Apollo in the Battlestar Galactica remake?

read biography for - John Kirk

 John Kirk ( 8th Jan 2003, 12:14, Rank: Patrician )  reply

Interesting article, although you have to login to the Trek BBS to read it. They mention that it got much lower ratings than Stargate SG-1. Quote: "If all of those incredible fans who wrote in and sent notes and flowers and [whatnot] had actually watched it every week, we would have been able to do the 22."

Thought for discussion - if the demographic for people who watch Farscape etc is the same as the demographic for people who have high-speed internet connections, and download episodes off the internet rather than watching them on TV, are all series like this doomed for cancellation?

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 dormouse ( 8th Jan 2003, 12:23, Rank: Jedi )  reply

if we could tune in every week and see Farscape 5 days before the episode could be downloaded, we probably would - the download would be convenient if we were out. i think being able to download it would increase the audience - for once, you can catch up on previously aired episodes when someone recommends a series. i might note that none of us in the flat would be watching farscape otherwise...

read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 8th Jan 2003, 12:32, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

You can rent them though or catche the episodes on re-runs (one of the plusses of the Sci-fi channel). The downloading probably won't effect the new episodes that much, but probably does kill the rerun ratings. Downloading would (generally) kill overseas ratings, but I doubt the network people care about that very much. Hopefully the UK premier episodes won't kill the ratings too badly in the US and stop any chance of Farscape being sold on.

read biography for - John Kirk

 John Kirk ( 8th Jan 2003, 12:38, Rank: Patrician )  reply

Well, it's more of a grey area in the UK - Firefly's current problems have occurred before the episodes have been available in the UK, so nothing we did could have influenced that (one way or the other).

Obviously I've watched my share of the illegal downloads, so I'm not trying to sound "holier than thou" here. And I know that the society has spent money on Farscape videos, which wouldn't otherwise have happened, so we have actually paid for those episodes.
It just seems to me that ultimately these TV companies exist to make money. If people watch the download, rather than watching it on TV or buying the videos/DVDs, then no money is going to the production company. This is basically the Napster argument revisited, except that there are still a lot of people who will buy the latest Britney Spears CD, because it's a mainstream thing, whereas series like Farscape are aimed at a smaller target audience.

Really, it just seems like there's a slightly odd mindset amongst lots of fans, that says "Look at the Evil executives who have cancelled this show", without accepting any responsibility themselves.

read biography for - John Kirk

 John Kirk ( 8th Jan 2003, 14:32, Rank: Patrician )  reply

Hmm, after further thought, a couple more ideas. My original comment was really trying to say "If we assume that people will continue to download episodes rather than watching them on TV, what implications will that have for the future of SF series?", rather than trying to guilt people into not downloading episodes (which is unlikely to be effective, in any case).

In the case of mp3s, I personally think that the solution is to have a different distribution network - music companies should sell mp3s of their songs (particularly individual tracks off albums), so that you could download them off the company website for a price. Much as Peanut Press does for e-books (where I've bought a few novels). For people without high-speed connections, they could also have terminals set up in places like Virgin and HMV, so that you plug your iPod or whatever into the wall, and they copy over all the tracks you've paid for.

So, hypothetical scenario. Suppose that the remaining two episodes of "Firefly" aren't screened on Fox (or whichever channel it's on). Instead, the producers decide to try an experiment, and say "We'll put these two episodes on our website as DivX's, and people can download them at $5 each". It is then safe to assume that free copies would appear on the newsgroups shortly afterwards. So, would you (not specifically Michelle here, just anyone who watches the series) then pay to download the legit copy, or just grab the free copy instead? Bearing in mind that in this context, there wouldn't be an issue of immediacy, i.e. it's not a case of "download it now or wait for a month until it's on TV over here". If you would be willing to pay for it, how much would you be willing to pay?

Alternately, suppose that you were in charge of the production company. Given a series like "Farscape" or "Firefly", that has an intensely loyal fanbase, but poor ratings, what approach would you use to generate revenue?

read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 8th Jan 2003, 14:53, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

Personally i'm happy to wait for series to appear on Sky. I've waited the several month delay for Buffy and Angel to come over here. I read spoilers, that keeps me moderately happy ;0)
I guess the next step would be proper internet tv channels. But that involves a fairly fundamental change in the way shows are made and distributed.

read biography for - John Kirk

 John Kirk ( 8th Jan 2003, 15:02, Rank: Patrician )  reply

L: well, yes, I'm inclined to agree :) I'll wait for Buffy/Angel, and only download an episode if we miss one in the middle (which I can justify to myself on the basis that I've bought all the DVD box sets so far, and will continue to do so in the future). Similarly, I've caught up on Charmed by watching it several times a week (different season every day), although that would be a bit harder with a series like Farscape.

Internet TV channels would be useful, although obviously you get better bandwidth off Sky (takes longer than 45 minutes to download an episode). Maybe one approach is to have a "pay per view" system on Sky? I don't see any real reason why we have to have the several month delay between the USA and the UK (since there are clearly times when we wind up ahead of them), so that may be the simplest approach - doing worldwide simultaneous releases, like they do for most films nowadays.

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