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  • What Makes A Ratings Success?

    Okay..so I've been reading articles about Battlestar Galactica performing very well and leading the cable ratings with a 1.8 share. On the other hand...SG1 is getting cancelled when it's pulling in a 1.54 average, with the season finale hitting a 1.7. These numbers seem awful close to me, so why is one viewed as a great success and the other one meriting cancelation?

    Jon
    Flying Sparks Web Comic - A Hero and Villain In Love. Updates on Wednesdays
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  • #2
    Originally posted by SmileOfTheShadow
    Okay..so I've been reading articles about Battlestar Galactica performing very well and leading the cable ratings with a 1.8 share. On the other hand...SG1 is getting cancelled when it's pulling in a 1.54 average, with the season finale hitting a 1.7. These numbers seem awful close to me, so why is one viewed as a great success and the other one meriting cancelation?

    Jon
    I think that there are other factors as to why a show gets canceled. In the case of a show like SG1 where it has been around for 10 years, the salaries of the actors and actresses are too high for the production company to see a a return on investment. There is also the issue of demographics. It could be that SG1 isn't pulling in the demographic that Sci-Fi is looking for. This is not to say that I am happy with their decision, I'm just trying to look at this dispassionately.
    ---
    Co-host of The Second Time Around podcast
    www.benedictfamily.org/podcast

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    • #3
      TheBaron was correct. SG1 has incredible expenses not only because of the actors but also due to the number of locations that they go to. BSG, on the other hand, is fairly self-contained to the ships and whatever planet they're concentrating on (Caprica for the first two seasons, New Caprica now)

      A lot also depends on how much of the costs to make a show are underwritten by the studio vs how much by the stations licensing them. JMS wrote in the most recent script books how WB had little incentive to give them the final year after PTEN no longer existed because B5's costs had always been covered by the license fees paid by the stations. Because of that, WB didn't have any real loss to have to recoup. In a previous book he'd explained some about how a show with great ratings might be a worse proposition for a studio than another, depending on the demographics that each show attracted.

      Jan
      "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Jan
        TheBaron was correct. SG1 has incredible expenses not only because of the actors but also due to the number of locations that they go to. BSG, on the other hand, is fairly self-contained to the ships and whatever planet they're concentrating on (Caprica for the first two seasons, New Caprica now)

        A lot also depends on how much of the costs to make a show are underwritten by the studio vs how much by the stations licensing them. JMS wrote in the most recent script books how WB had little incentive to give them the final year after PTEN no longer existed because B5's costs had always been covered by the license fees paid by the stations. Because of that, WB didn't have any real loss to have to recoup. In a previous book he'd explained some about how a show with great ratings might be a worse proposition for a studio than another, depending on the demographics that each show attracted.
        Jan

        That's really a bummer. I'm just looking for any potential way that SG1 can be saved. Though from the sounds of things I've seen on the SG1 sites, it doesn't even look open to negotiation at this point.

        Jon
        Flying Sparks Web Comic - A Hero and Villain In Love. Updates on Wednesdays
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        • #5
          Jon, I really wouldn't hold out much, if any hope of SG-1 getting picked up. I have no doubt that Sci Fi would rather pay for a cheaper show (Atlantis) than a more expensive version (SG-1) where they have to pay the much higer salaries and production costs demanded by people who have worked on the series for years. Aside from that, Sci-Fi can take the stance that they still have a Stargate show on the air, so stop complaining! And if they decide they really want to placate the fans, they can always bring in SG-1 actors as guest stars, or maybe even bring on as a regular, as Deep Space Nine did with Worf. Again, I'm not sure the latter will happen because of the aforementioned salaries. I should think you'd be more likely to see Ben Browder or Claudia Black appear in Atlantis, because they're not original cast members who would probably get more money, but who knows what kind of deals are made behind closed doors?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Joe Nazzaro
            Jon, I really wouldn't hold out much, if any hope of SG-1 getting picked up. I have no doubt that Sci Fi would rather pay for a cheaper show (Atlantis) than a more expensive version (SG-1) where they have to pay the much higer salaries and production costs demanded by people who have worked on the series for years. Aside from that, Sci-Fi can take the stance that they still have a Stargate show on the air, so stop complaining! And if they decide they really want to placate the fans, they can always bring in SG-1 actors as guest stars, or maybe even bring on as a regular, as Deep Space Nine did with Worf. Again, I'm not sure the latter will happen because of the aforementioned salaries. I should think you'd be more likely to see Ben Browder or Claudia Black appear in Atlantis, because they're not original cast members who would probably get more money, but who knows what kind of deals are made behind closed doors?

            Well, I'd like Ben Browder and Claudia Black, so that'd actually make my day if they transfered over. I guess it is a lot to expect to have two Stargate shows running at the same time, and the idea of bringing someone over would be welcome. I think DS9 actually picked up in terms of quality quite a bit when Worf was added to the show. Even still, Atlantis IMO, doesn't quite have the same dynamic or grand storylines that SG1 seems to have. Maybe that'll change when it comes into its own a little more.
            Flying Sparks Web Comic - A Hero and Villain In Love. Updates on Wednesdays
            True Believer Reviews: Comic Reviews and Interviews on Wednesdays and Fridays - Or Your Money Back!

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            • #7
              As an aside, Battlestar is said to be doing very well in some circles (SciFi, critics), and not so well in other circles. 1.8 is still great, and I believe it's still the leading Friday night show, but they are supposed to have pulled better numbers in previous years.

              Just more fodder for the ratings-are-all-perspective cannon.
              Radhil Trebors
              Persona Under Construction

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              • #8
                Jan's right, there's no way anyone would even consider bringing SG-1 back. It was on the air too long and was getting to expensive. It is not a coincidence that every Trek show from TNG through Voyager lasted exactly 7 years. That was the term of the contracts, not only for the actors but for the other unionized staff. Those contracts included automatic annual raises for all concerned, and then key personnel could always negotiate more than that. So every 7 years Paramount repackaged the Trek concept as a new series. This reset the salary odometer for staff who came over from one show to the other, and of course each series had a mostly-new cast. That's essentially what they've done with SG-1 and Atlantis.

                In addition, there are ownership and financing issues. The Stargate franchise is an MGM property. Sci-Fi is owned by Universal, as is Battlestar Galactica. The new series is being co-financed by USA Networks (Universal/NBC) and British Sky Broadcasting, so the risk on the production side is less and it is easier for each entity to cover its share of the cost out of the broadcast license fees. Finally the parent company, Universal/NBC, gets the revenue from eventual syndicated reruns and from the DVD releases, which it would not get with SG-1. Don't forget, the main reason that Sci-Fi turned down the Rangers pilot was ownership and ancillary revenue issues, not ratings. In effect BSG got them exactly what attracted them to B5 and Rangers - an epic politico-military, arc-drive adventure set in space. But in this case one that they also own (or own most of.)

                Ratings are not absolute. Demographics (the age, sex, location and ethnicity of viewers) can make a huge difference. A "low-rated" show that is reaching the people that an advertiser wants to sell products to is worth more to that advertiser than a higher-rated show that appeals to people who don't buy his products. (You'll notice that there is very little pantyhose sold during Monday Night Football, for instance, and hardly any beer advertised during All My Children. ) And, again, expense. One of the reasons that reality shows and prime time game shows have made such a huge comeback in recent years is that compared to scripted dramas they are much cheaper to produce, and can therefore cost less per ratings point or viewer than other types of programming.

                Regards,

                Joe
                Last edited by Joseph DeMartino; 10-12-2006, 07:02 AM.
                Joseph DeMartino
                Sigh Corps
                Pat Tallman Division

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                • #9
                  JDM answered the question.

                  WWE gets some of the highest ratings on cable TV (currently, they're pretty high, in the past, they've been ungodly high), but they get very little advertising revenue because advertisers have an idea about the crowd who's watching. This may be somewhat out-of-touch on their part and I think they're making a slight folly, as there is a base for certain types of advertising, such as automobiles (right now, teenagers are a large demographic and they're new drivers).
                  Recently, there was a reckoning. It occurred on November 4, 2014 across the United States. Voters, recognizing the failures of the current leadership and fearing their unchecked abuses of power, elected another party as the new majority. This is a first step toward preventing more damage and undoing some of the damage already done. Hopefully, this is as much as will be required.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Radhil
                    As an aside, Battlestar is said to be doing very well in some circles (SciFi, critics), and not so well in other circles. 1.8 is still great, and I believe it's still the leading Friday night show, but they are supposed to have pulled better numbers in previous years.
                    I think their all-time high was a 2.6 rating for the 2nd season premiere. But they dropped to 2.0 the following week and bounced between 1.8 and 1.9 (dipping to 1.7 for a single week) for the rest of that year. The average was a 1.95 or 1.93 rating depending on whether or not you counted the unsual first week. So if they're doing 1.8/1.9 this year the ratings are basically unchanged and still very good for a basic cable channel.

                    Regards,

                    Joe
                    Joseph DeMartino
                    Sigh Corps
                    Pat Tallman Division

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                    • #11
                      I don't want to enter the thread, but will there be any repeats of the season opener? I know that they had one on Monday, but I wasn't able to DVR it. I hate having to watch the crap on the computer when I have a 52" HDTV. I haven't even finished the last three eps of S2 yet.
                      Recently, there was a reckoning. It occurred on November 4, 2014 across the United States. Voters, recognizing the failures of the current leadership and fearing their unchecked abuses of power, elected another party as the new majority. This is a first step toward preventing more damage and undoing some of the damage already done. Hopefully, this is as much as will be required.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LessonInMachismo
                        I don't want to enter the thread, but will there be any repeats of the season opener? I know that they had one on Monday, but I wasn't able to DVR it. I hate having to watch the crap on the computer when I have a 52" HDTV. I haven't even finished the last three eps of S2 yet.
                        There was one monday and one yesterday during the day I believe. Or maybe it's today, I forget. on www.scifi.com if you click on schedule then click on "complete schedule" and type in battlestar galactica (season 3) it'll come up with results for ya

                        But it's a two hour, so I don't see them playing it all that often after this week unless they split it up. I actually missed the las 20 minutes of it because i had to go to bed monday night.

                        Jon
                        Flying Sparks Web Comic - A Hero and Villain In Love. Updates on Wednesdays
                        True Believer Reviews: Comic Reviews and Interviews on Wednesdays and Fridays - Or Your Money Back!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SmileOfTheShadow
                          There was one monday and one yesterday during the day I believe. Or maybe it's today, I forget. on www.scifi.com if you click on schedule then click on "complete schedule" and type in battlestar galactica (season 3) it'll come up with results for ya

                          But it's a two hour, so I don't see them playing it all that often after this week unless they split it up. I actually missed the las 20 minutes of it because i had to go to bed monday night.

                          Jon
                          Does twenty minutes really make that much of a difference?
                          Recently, there was a reckoning. It occurred on November 4, 2014 across the United States. Voters, recognizing the failures of the current leadership and fearing their unchecked abuses of power, elected another party as the new majority. This is a first step toward preventing more damage and undoing some of the damage already done. Hopefully, this is as much as will be required.

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                          • #14
                            Looks like 03:00 Saturday morning. I need to DVR it, the new ep and maybe some old school BSG, which is on Friday.

                            Also, Star Trek: First Contact is on tonight!
                            Recently, there was a reckoning. It occurred on November 4, 2014 across the United States. Voters, recognizing the failures of the current leadership and fearing their unchecked abuses of power, elected another party as the new majority. This is a first step toward preventing more damage and undoing some of the damage already done. Hopefully, this is as much as will be required.

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                            • #15
                              There was an advertisement for BSG during Heroes last night, so it looks like Sci-Fi is trying to drive more SF fans to BSG by taking that route. I believe that Heroes has been averaging over 15 million viewers so far, so it will be interesting to see if enough folks give BSG a try to measurably improve the ratings.

                              In any case, it sure seems like BSG has gotten way more publicity than any other cable-based SF series. I'm surprised that its ratings aren't even higher based on how many mainstream media publications have been raving about it for the last year or so.

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