Caprica Ratings: Syfy's Mark Stern Tries To Put Lipstick On the Pig

Categories: Cable TV

Written By

March 15th, 2010

THR's James Hibberd,  in a piece on some Syfy pilot pickups that also wanders into the territory that of course Syfy is considering other BSG spinoffs, quotes Syfy VP of development Mark Stern on Caprica's ratings:

When asked about the chances of its modestly performing spinoff “Caprica” getting a renewal, Stern was bullish. He pointed to the show recently hitting a series high in the adult demographic using Live+7 ratings, drawing 1.6 million viewers and 913,000 adults 18-49.

“We have a lot of hope for that show,” Stern said. “The (DVR data) has been very promising and growing week after week. The ratings don't reflect the potential audience."

Perhaps we need TV network executive excuse  Bingo to complement Fan Excuse Bingo.  "Our Audience doesn't watch TV" (a Ben Silverman gem) would be center square.

The ratings don't reflect the potential audience?  No?  What does then?  Total world population, perhaps?

I'm not trying to be snarky.  If what Stern meant is that the Live+SD viewing doesn't reflect the total viewing audience, I agree, but those are still ratings.  Indeed, bumping up from a .4 with adults 18-49 in the live+SD ratings to a .7 in the Live+SD ratings is huge  growth on a percentage basis.  The problem is that it's still tiny in the absolute.

Is the show more popular when DVR is factored in?  Sure.  More popular yes. A lot more popular even, on a percentage basis.  But still not very popular.  The real question though is does Syfy make a lot more money in commercial ad revenue when those huge increases in DVR viewing are factored in?

Sadly for Syfy the answer is "no."  It only makes a little bit more money.

While I believe Mr. Stern is hopeful,  I don't know if I'd agree with Hibberd that Stern is bullish, though I agree he is at least trying to appear bullish.

But c'mon, it's not like he and the other execs at Syfy are running around high fiving each other over the DVR numbers.  "Woo-hoo! With Live+7 viewing factored in "Caprica" narrowly edged out "The Soup!*"  Yes!"

Potential is nice, but it's hard to monetize.  Of course, I'm not really sure if the Syfy strategy of sticking its  more expensive programming on Friday nights when fewer people are around to watch it anyway makes sense anymore.  In 2005 it might have still made sense.  Now, I'm not so sure.   Some scripted dramas on cable grow during their first season and grow in their second season when compared to the first.   I don't love the chances  of that happening for Caprica on a Friday night.  We'll see.

*It might not have edged out "The Soup."  I didn't see "The Soup's" Live+7 numbers for Friday 2/26. In the Live+SD numbers that night it beat "Caprica" .6 vs. .4 with adults 18-49.

 
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