Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sad day for Science Fiction fans (BEDA #9)

I was gonna start off my new series today, but with the news that Eureka has indeed been cancelled, I thought I would do my blog about that. If you read my blogs, then you'll know that five days ago a rumour spread around the Internet that Eureka had been cancelled. Then it turned out that Syfy had actually renewed the show for another six episodes, and the fan world set about rejoicing. Today, news was leaked that Syfy rescinded that order and is not only cancelling the series but stopping them from having a proper finish.

I want to be angry with Syfy about this, I really do, and I was very mad at the beginning. The way the story spread was just irresponsible of them, and instead of coming out and addressing the rumours right away they waiting hours before making a proper confirmation. Worst of all, it seems that most of the cast found out from each other before they were told from the network or their agents. That I am mad about, and mostly sad.

I'm sad and angry that Eureka got cancelled, but I get it. A lot of people seem to forget that television networks, every television network around the world, run shows for the advertisers; just like book publishers sell to book stores and not readers. This might sound off but bear with me:

See, advertisers are the ones who give the networks the bulk of their income. Let's say that 10% of people who watch a show will buy what is advertised during the breaks. Show A has 100 people watching it and therefore ten people buy what is advertised. Show B has 1,000 people watching, therefore 100 people buy what is advertised. If you had a product that you wanted to sell would you advertise it knowing only ten people would buy it, or one hundred people would buy it? This doesn't take into account DVD sales and plus seven ratings, but that's not what the advertisers are taking into account, either. What is the point of a network saying "in total 1,000 people watch the show" when the item is only on sale for that one week? By the time the other 90 people go to buy the item it is not on sale anymore. Also, some TiVo and television recorders allow people to fast forward past the ads, so that doesn't help the advertisers, either.

Now, the Syfy network maybe possibly could do more to advertise themselves, thus getting more viewers to the network and the show. I don't know how it's run in the US but in Australia the SciFi network isn't advertised at all unless you already have subscription TV or they're sponsoring an event. But that costs money, too, and that might only get them another 100 or so viewers (in the above scenario). Basically, Eureka was costing more than it was getting back. Advertisers were only being $X because that's all it was worth, but the show costs, for example) $X+10.

Hopefully Eureka will find a home somewhere else, like international iTunes or direct to DVD. A lot of the fan outcry is coming from overseas just as much as it's coming from the US, so there might be a future for the show beyond season five. If you want to see what the show's all about check it out at The Save Eureka FaceBook page is here, and you can follow pretty much all of the crew and most of the cast on Twitter.


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