Thursday, April 19, 2012

A different idea to save a show

So about a month ago I mentioned that fans of the TV show Terra Nova have been campaigning to get Fox Net to change their minds, then to show support to Fox Studios and the various production companies when they picked up the cast contracts, etc and started 'shopping the show to other networks etc. They even tried Netflix (who turned them down about two weeks ago).

I've been watching the #SaveTerraNova tag on twitter and a couple of days ago a new online petition turned up. It's so perfect that I have to give it a call out. In part because it is based on an idea I have also written about. But in a much more radical way.

Save Terra Nova Online is a campaign to save the show by having it turned into the first ever (or at least to Charlie Scott's and my own knowledge) direct to online show. The notion is to have Fox and these producers continue the show and sell it to the fans for direct support. Put it on iTunes, Amazon etc, put it also perhaps on its own website and/or Hulu for view with ad options.

According to Mr Scott, the declared budget is no worse than many Hollywood movies which the studios make with no promise they will recover the budget. After all not every movie is a Harry Potter or Hunger Games box office winner. And yet the studios keep taking that gamble over and over on movies. Why not do it on a show. Certainly this group of production companies has the money in the back to consider the notion.

Now I'm not really sure that Mr Scott's numbers are correct but they are probably close to the truth. He said the cost per episode is supposed to be $4 million. I'm not sure where he got that but with the FX it is likely a good double the typical show so something around $5 million isn't a crazy number. And he says the ratings were 7 million viewers. Mr Scott looked at that number as if it was a true count but we that follow TV ratings know that it's not. That's probably more like 10k confirmed viewers off the sampling group. But that group is a tiny sampling of folks in the US so I agree that it's not crazy to imagine the number is more like 1 million viewers. Mr Scott also assumed that everyone would buy the higher priced HD copy of the episodes. I say that's a bad assumption. Always go under and assume folks are more likely to go for the cheaper (hope not cause Taylor and the beard of badassness looks better in a higher def). So just off my numbers that's 1 million downloads at $1.99 each or just shy of the halfway mark. And my numbers are using a lot of caution. The truth is likely somewhere between mine and Mr Scotts. And neither of us have considered that the show was airing in a good 10 other countries. If Fox opened up the show to all the iTunes stores and Amazon, hitting that $5 million mark each week becomes even more possible. Especially if they give it to us at the higher 1080p rating. Taylor and his beard on my new iPad would make the commute to my 'real' job so much more pleasant (and Jason's nice to look at too. lol).

I certainly agree with Mr Scott that this is just the show to take the gamble on. Heck perhaps they have some extra footage they had to cut to fit within the 'hour' they could add back to the eps ala the way that BBC etc release the UK versions even in the US in the online stores. Those versions are typically more like 90 minutes long because the BBC doesn't have the same number of ads (if any) in their shows.

So I say, go and sign this petition. Also, send your own letters to the producers and directly tell them that you would pay for the show. If you have already bought it off iTunes, send them a copy of the receipt (black out your private info first please). Or go and buy the season now and send them that receipt. It's $18 for the HD eps. Many of us spend that much on a movie or eating out in a week or two.

And help get the word out about this effort. Plus it on your twitter (with the #SaveTerraNova hash), your Facebook, your own blogs, boards like IMDB, etc. Mr Scott's latest tweet is that he'll send a copy of the petition to the producers each time it hits 1000 names so lets see how fast we can help him get it there.

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