GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Firefly vs BSG Nielsen Ratings... What the FRAK?!

POSTED BY: PENTHOS
UPDATED: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 19:55
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Saturday, May 3, 2008 6:22 AM

PENTHOS


AVG BSG Nielsen Rating By Season:
Season 1: 2.53
Season 2: 1.96
Season 3: 1.39
Season 4: 1.40 (through first 2 episodes)
-----------------------
Total Avg: 1.82
(Source: http://en.battlestarwiki.org/wiki/List_of_Nielsen_ratings_(RDM) )

Avg Firefly Nielsen Rating:
Season 1: 2.98
(Source: http://home.insightbb.com/~wahoskem/firefly1.html)

As you can see from the numbers above, in its BEST season, season 1, BSG hardly came close to Firefly's Nielsen ratings. Plus, considering that BSG has always had consistent viewing times, consistent marketing, never been pre-empted, and all episodes shown in the correct order; its even more astonishing that BSG got a 4 season run and Firefly got an 11 episode shaft!

THIS MAKES NO SENSE! Does SciFi even look at numbers? Why would they even consider making a BSG spin off?... Especially when they could revive FireFly instead?

Not only did FOX screw up, but so did SciFi. If they had picked up Firefly instead of BSG they would have an actual HIT on their hands instead of a 4 season flop with a whopping 1.82 Nielsen.

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Zoe: Don't think its a good spot sir, she still has the advantage over us.
Mal: Everyone always does; that's what makes us special.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008 6:29 AM

JOLLY


You're comparing a specialty cable channel with a broadcast network. The comparison is completely meaningless.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008 6:47 AM

PARTICIPANT


Quote:

Originally posted by Penthos:

THIS MAKES NO SENSE! Does SciFi even look at numbers? Why would they even consider making a BSG spin off?... Especially when they could revive FireFly instead?




Skiffy is owned by Universal (people who brought us Serenity)

So the fact that Skiffy can't see a gem staring them right in the face means there's even less hope for the channel. Prepare to see Scifi channel dominated by reruns of Ghosthunters etc

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Saturday, May 3, 2008 6:52 AM

JAYNEZTOWN


Battlestar was shown on a major network, broadcast on NBC but it got really bad ratings and it was relegated to scifi.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008 6:58 AM

PENTHOS


Quote:

Originally posted by jolly:
You're comparing a specialty cable channel with a broadcast network. The comparison is completely meaningless.



Really? Please explain because I believe the ratings are relative to whether they are broadcast or cable...

In 2002-2003 each broadcast point was worth 1,067,000 viewers which means that Firefly had and avg of 3,179,660 viewers per episode...

I dont' know what each point was worth for cable... But I don't think the comparison in "meaningless"


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Zoe: Don't think its a good spot sir, she still has the advantage over us.
Mal: Everyone always does; that's what makes us special.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008 8:17 AM

CYBERSNARK


The comparison is meaningless because specialty channels always have lower ratings (and thus, lower cancellation thresholds) than the majors.

Jericho, for example, was a flop by CBS standards, but would've qualified as a hit for Sci-fi.

The downside is that specialties have less money to throw at things. As per my Jericho analogy, Sci-fi simply wouldn't have been able to afford a show like Jericho (much as they surely want to). Hits are expensive --especially when dealing with SF (a genre which tends to require bigger and better effects, custom-designed sets, costumes, and props, and generally appeals to only a small niche market).

What really matters is how much an "average" episode of BSG costs as opposed to Firefly (and that'd have to be net; after the licensing fees from all the other networks that carry it, the DVDs, the merchandising, the marketing, etc).

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008 10:33 AM

PENTHOS


Quote:

Originally posted by Cybersnark:
The comparison is meaningless because specialty channels always have lower ratings (and thus, lower cancellation thresholds) than the majors.



Actually, I "believe" that broadcast and cable ratings are calculated relative to their own markets.. If that's true then the comparison should be valid...

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Zoe: Don't think its a good spot sir, she still has the advantage over us.
Mal: Everyone always does; that's what makes us special.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008 11:08 AM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


The Nielsen figures are actually made up of two different numbers. The "Rating" is only a partial judgement of a show's appeal, as it is just the estimated number of households tuned into that channel at a particular time. The other number is known as a "Share," which means the percentage of households who had access to that channel that tuned in. In the case of Fox, more households would have had access to that channel than they would have had access to the Sci-Fi Channel, so in comparison Firefly had less of a "Share" of its potential audience that BSG.

On average, Firefly had between 4-5 million viewers per week, which is a very low rating for a major network. Sci-Fi would kill for such a number for BSG, which averages less than 2 million.

To use another show as an example, The Closer is probably the highest rated scripted cable show ever produced, and it averages between 4-5 million viewers, roughly the same as Firefly got on Fox. It is considered a huge hit by cable standards, but those figures would be laughed at by the major networks, where shows that fall under 10 million are on shaky ground.




wo men ren ran zai fei xing.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008 3:53 AM

IMNOTHERE


Quote:

Originally posted by ecgordon:
On average, Firefly had between 4-5 million viewers per week, which is a very low rating for a major network. Sci-Fi would kill for such a number for BSG, which averages less than 2 million.



Blinkin' flip! Dr Who regularly gets between 6 and 9 million in the UK i.e. only 1/5 of the population of the US! (see: http://www.gallifreyone.com/news.php).

...but then it goes out on Saturday evening on a mainstream channel.


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Thursday, May 8, 2008 11:58 PM

JAYNEZTOWN


Quote:

Originally posted by Cybersnark:

What really matters is how much an "average" episode of BSG costs as opposed to Firefly (and that'd have to be net; after the licensing fees from all the other networks that carry it, the DVDs, the merchandising, the marketing, etc).



How much did the average episode of Firefly cost ?

and as for the DVD argument we Browncoats are going to win that one, its been the best seller since 2003. No Contest !

then our movie Serenity broke even WW at the box office without counting profit from dvd sales.

I know Battlestar also did a movie, how much was Galactica: Razor's production budget ?

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Friday, May 9, 2008 5:32 AM

STORYMARK


Yeah, the ratings comparisons are pointless. SciFi considers a 2.0 share a pretty big success, whereas that'd be a huge flop on network TV.

As for the budget on BSG Razor - I don't know any figures, but it was included in their 4th season order, and production-wise, was amde as 2 episodes, so it wasn't like they got a seperate budget for it. The whole season likely costs a fair bit less than Serenity.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Friday, May 9, 2008 6:55 AM

PENTHOS


Quote:

Originally posted by Storymark:
Yeah, the ratings comparisons are pointless. SciFi considers a 2.0 share a pretty big success, whereas that'd be a huge flop on network TV.



Obviously Broadcast and Cable don't have the same size markets. But my understanding is that the ratings are relative to the number of viewers in each total market (Broadcast and Cable). So if a show can get a 2.8 rating in the Broadcast market then it should be able to get 2.8 in the cable market. Which would indeed be a a big success for SciFi considering BSG is around 1.5s and they are spinning off a prequel.

Now, all that being said; it is possible that my understanding of how the rating system works is wrong, in which case my conclusion that Firefly would have better ratings than BSG on SciFi could be wrong as well. So if you know better, please correct me by explaining how it really works.



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Zoe: Don't think its a good spot sir, she still has the advantage over us.
Mal: Everyone always does; that's what makes us special.

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Friday, May 9, 2008 7:16 AM

STORYMARK


I don't know if they adjust the ratings relative to their market or not. All I know is, SciFi considers a 2.0 pretty decent. And the networks cancell a show with that rating in a heartbeat.

I wouldn't doubt that Firefly had better ratings than BSG, but it was certainly measured against a different standard. It was also likely much more expensive, since it had a fair bit of location shooting, and was shot in California. BSG is shot in Vancouver, which tends to be much cheaper.


"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Friday, May 9, 2008 8:06 AM

MACBAKER


The ratings for Battlestar aren't great for a specialty cable network like Sci-Fi, but it's acceptable. Battlestar is a critical success, which can't be said for most of their other series, or any of their so called "original" movies.

One other thing to consider, is that Battlestar's cost is shared somewhat with Canada's Sky network, and with foreign sales.

Firefly was on a major network that expected much higher ratings, and wasn't behind the series from the start.

I'm sure Sci-Fi might have considered Firefly, but I'm betting Fox studios (not to be confused with FOX), wanted too much for the series.

Unfortunately, Fox studios still has series production rights, and Universal (who owns the Sci-Fi network), only has movie rights. I would love to see some "made for TV" Firefly movies on Sci-Fi. They would certainly be FAR better than any of the crap movies they show now, but I doubt Universal has the rights to make "made for TV" movies. They might have "direct to DVD" movie rights, but that might not be cost effective enough for them to green light.

I'd given some thought to movin' off the edge -- not an ideal location -- thinkin' a place in the middle.

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Friday, May 9, 2008 8:21 AM

STORYMARK


And, SciFi gets a piece of the BSG DVD sales, which would not be the case if they were to pick up Firefly. So there is little upside for them, financially, in funding new episodes.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Friday, May 9, 2008 8:29 AM

DUG


You're also skipping over a MAJOR factor: the economy is better now than when Firefly was broadcast.

Advertising sales went soft in early 2001, and after 9/11/2001 they went absolutely comatose for an entire year. While the economy is very soft at the moment there are many more advertising dollars flying around than there were when Firefly was on the air.

No revenue = broadcast execs in a panic
broadcast execs in a panic = shows on the edge getting cut


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Friday, May 9, 2008 1:53 PM

SHINYGOODGUY


Hey there fellow browncoats, I agree with MacBaker for the most part.

I agree that Sci-Fi has some challenges when it comes to their "original" movie series (Tinman), but there are other factors involved, as he so rightly stated.

But consider this: Because of Fox's rights to FF's TV production, and subsequent DVD sales, there is a strong possibility that we may never see our heroes fly again, at least not in a TV series. And, here's the kicker, Fox's interest became super-keen when they saw the TV series DVD sales go through the roof. They merely did that in a last ditch effort to make some money from the "flop." Hence the new and improved version in Blu-Ray. Fox execs are wringing their collective hands at the continued success of this phenomenon.
Does anyone get the feeling that we shot ourselves in the foot? (Quaint!!!)

Also consider JW's relationship with the people at Fox and that of NBC Universal. Which do you think would fly? We have a better chance of another movie, because Universal, our only BIG MONEY supporter, believes in JW and FF. Of course we didn't get $100M like Ironman did to go make our BDM (I read somewhere that our budget was about $40M), but why quibble over a mere $60M? Could it have made a difference? By the way, Fox has placed the entire TV series on Hulu.com under the banner Classic TV series (how's that for irony).

By the way #2: The Nielsen ratings merely reports who watching what and when. The TV moguls at both Cable and Broadcast take that info and say can we make money from this by charging our advertisers to air their commercials (hence $2M for a Super Bowl ad). Cable has fewer viewers than broadcast, so the numbers mean something different to each one. If you have a 2 ratings point in broadcast from 70M viewers as opposed to 30M viewers, well then that would be different, wouldn't it?

My suggestion is this: Let both Fox and Universal throw in, let's say, $50M each to produce a 6 part FF miniseries that would air on both Fox and Sci-Fi (then on the internet via Hulu); then go to DVD sales. It would be unprecedented (oh the possibilities!) They would share in the revenue (Cha ching!) and we'd all win. We would get our BDH, the actors would get to have fun with JW and friends and the moguls would get to count their money to their greedy little hearts content (the DVD sales alone would probably more than pay for the production). Just a thought!

"When did this stop being fun?"

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Friday, May 9, 2008 7:45 PM

FREEBROWNCOAT


SGG:

Fox studios and Universal cooperating. BRILLIANT! Together they could produce something to be proud of and make a ****pot full of money. How I wish they could do it.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008 7:35 AM

TANKOBITE


Amen! If Sci-fi original movies were animals, I'd pollute their habitats and hunt them to extinction.

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There's a widow in sleepy Chester
Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
A grave that the Burmans shun;
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
Who tells how the work was done.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008 7:55 PM

JOLLY


Quote:

Originally posted by Penthos:


Obviously Broadcast and Cable don't have the same size markets. But my understanding is that the ratings are relative to the number of viewers in each total market (Broadcast and Cable). So if a show can get a 2.8 rating in the Broadcast market then it should be able to get 2.8 in the cable market. Which would indeed be a a big success for SciFi considering BSG is around 1.5s and they are spinning off a prequel.

Now, all that being said; it is possible that my understanding of how the rating system works is wrong, in which case my conclusion that Firefly would have better ratings than BSG on SciFi could be wrong as well. So if you know better, please correct me by explaining how it really works.




Read the footnotes over on the Nielsen webpage ( www.nielsenmedia.com) for both the broadcast and cable ratings. In each case, it indicates that one point represents 1,128,000 households and is based on the universe of television households. So no, the figures aren't relative to market size.

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