#FreeBabylon5 Campaign

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Jan, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. Snatcher42

    Snatcher42 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Only for these a la carte sites. Being part of a subscription service is totally different. Netflix especially, because they invest a tremendous amount into their recommendation antilogarithm, even offering a million dollar prize to anyone who could develop something better. Directing viewers to content they might like is a huge part of their service.

    They're also in the zeitgiest for delivering new, original shows. As their chief content officer Ted Sarandos said, "The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us." And again, I can't stress enough the importance of JMS' Sense 8 on Netflix next year.

    Babylon 5 is also available for purchase on Best Buy/Walmart's CinemaNow. And Seasons 1 - 4 are on Vudu.com, which is where I watch them because they are in the original 4:3 aspect ratio there. But to group sites like this into the same category as Netflix is folly. Not all streaming services are equal.

    Again, I'll support this movement in any form, sign any petition, etc. But my two cents, which I offer as constructive criticism because I want this to work, is that Netflix specifically (not streaming in general) should be our #1 priority.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  2. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^
    Being available for purchase on streaming is not the same as being available on a streaming service like Netflix, hulu or Amazon Instant. It's essentially no different from DVD sales, while being available on a free streaming service or a paid streaming service is a bit more like TV or cable TV, respectively. Key word here was 'free', wasn't it? With the idea that people are able to watch Babylon 5 without having specifically paid for Babylon 5.

    Snatcher42 also has a point about Sense8. Take one of Netflix's surprise original series hits from this year - no, not House of Cards, but Orange Is The New Black. One of Netflix's top recommendations for those who watch Orange Is The New Black is Weeds, another series created by Jenji Kohan (besides the Netflix series being explicitly billed as 'from the creator of Weeds'). A similar synergy would be pretty good for Babylon 5, especially if Sense8 is a hit (and so far original series are doing more than okay.)
     
  3. Snatcher42

    Snatcher42 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    ^Yeah, there are basically two types of streaming services: free or subscription based, and video-on-demand. Of course the current state of B5 online reflects the idea that you have to go looking for it, because that's the business model WB is pushing. They want to milk the last few cents out of the show's existing fans. In fact, I'd be willing to bet monetizing it on these VOD sites was a big reason they pulled it from Netflix in the first place.

    What we need to do is shift Babylon 5 back to a streaming model where it can attract new fans. And with Sense8 coming up, now's the time to do it!
     
  4. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    Everyone my age (20s) discovers new shows on Netflix, not on cable.
     
  5. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    I'm going to have to go with the majority here. Getting B5 on a subscription-based streaming service like Netflix (or free; but that's less likely to fly with WB) is the way to go. If it gets back in syndication so much the better, but that cannot be a higher priority than subscription-based streaming. It's a harder sell and it's debatable how much better the payoff would be.

    Pay-for-download isn't good enough. No one pays for something they haven't already decided they want. With a subscription-based service, the user has already paid, and doesn't have to fork over any more cash to check out what B5 is all about. I recently watched the first episode of Burn Notice on Netflix Instant; I would not have done that if I had to pay to see it.

    Netflix isn't the only outlet, but it is probably the ideal one due to its large share of the market. Amazon Instant Video would be another option, PROVIDED (as mentioned above) B5 is offered free with Amazon Prime, rather than as one of their pay-for-view offerings.
     
  6. flavaflav

    flavaflav Captain Captain

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    Seeing as how cable tv is becoming a thing of the past, put me down for a streaming vote as well. Netflix and similar services are the way to go.
     
  7. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    A hybrid model might work, where the first part of the show (maybe the first 2 seasons) are free or available on a subscription basis, and the remainder is pay-for-access. But that's as far as I'm willing to push that. The viewer must be allowed to sample the product for free or there's no hope.
     
  8. dansigal

    dansigal Captain Captain

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    There is also more to it than building up the fan base (although that of course is nothing but helpful). It's also about just keeping the show alive in the public consciousness and showing that its still viable. If say the Science Channel decides to air reruns and it gets relatively decent ratings, even from just the existing fans, and then say one or two other channels notice and think its worth the cost to also run some reruns now and then, that may make WB take notice that the franchise still has some life in it.
     
  9. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    Okay, so for those of you saying streaming is the way to go (and I don't disagree, I just plan to go with TV, then streaming in the campaign I'm involved with)...How? It's pretty easy to decide that "That's the way to go" but not obvious how to actually implement it.

    Let's have some solid ideas for persuading WB to go from pay-per-episode to a presumably flat or graduated payment arrangement from Netflix/Hulu/whatever. Yeah, we can flood those services with searches for Babylon 5 but that's not something WB can see.

    Thoughts? Plans? Suggestions?

    Jan
     
  10. Snatcher42

    Snatcher42 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think the processes would be similar to approaching a potential television station. We can write to Netflix, either individually or as a group, asking for B5 to be added to the service. And follow that up with petitions, letter writing campaigns, etc. Again possibly tying it all in with the upcoming Sense8, to gain more attention.

    Some intel gathering first might be good, too. Maybe we can find out exactly why the show was pulled. Did WB want more money than Netflix was willing to pay? Did they want the show exclusively on competing pay-per-episode sites? Were there other license issues involved? Royalties? Basically, what kind of hurdles are we facing here?

    Who we can contact for that, I'm not sure. Netflix? WB? Someone with industry connections? I'd love to hear some ideas, too!
     
  11. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    As a die-hard B-Fiver I'd like to join the discussion.

    First thought: To have people have an interest in Babylon 5 I'd say that fan-made trailers and teasers would be a start. B-Fivers certainly know which are great scenes, quotes and the like to put in such trailers. Do we have good trailers that reflect and reveal the spirit of the show so others may get interested and won't feel disappointed?

    Trailers could range from epic to downright hilarious: "Would you care to drink a cup of tea with your mortal enemy?"

    These "Free Babylon 5" posters I've seen here (great artwork!) won't do the job, I'm afraid, because unless average audiences know what it's about, why would they care to "free" something they don't know?

    Wouldn't something more aggressive along the lines "The science fiction epic nobody wants you to experience" be a better or more original approach?

    The one thing that still annoys me to this day is how Ron Moore advertised the new BSG - at the expense of B5. His Mission Statement highlighted all the sci-fi cliches and stereotypes BSG was not about (of course he conveniently did not mention robots :rolleyes:) which attracted the interest of Edward James Olmos.

    I'd say it would be fair use to use this Mission Statement and rewrite it on behalf of Babylon 5.

    Unless interest is created to experience B5 the current sad state of affairs will continue.

    Second thought: Unlike TNG all the live action footage is available in genuine 16:9. It's essentially the superimposed CGI effects and the space CGI that needs a drastic overhaul, after that 16:9 reformatting of these went so horribly wrong (apparently the mistake of one of WB's contractors as the very same crap happened to the remake of The Shining at about the same time).

    We know the acting and the scripts are great, we know that Christopher Franke's "Opera Sauvage" score is stellar, but the quality of the studio sets and the outdated CGI effects isn't really the stuff to attract new and spoiled audiences.

    There's got to be some eye candy and - sorry - that especially applies for the first season before the rollercoaster ride that is B5 really gets into motion.

    Apparently WB holds on to their rights. Frankly, I hope they are watching the remastering of TNG and its subsequent sales with interest and then decide whether they want to do this kind of remastering or leave it to the "great maker" (JMS) to do it.

    Bob
     
  12. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The idea wasn't to attract new people, but to get the attention of existing fans for them to help with the actual campaign. Obviously people who don't already know the show will know or care what Psi Corps is, nor get the Peanuts reference. Honestly I thought that was self evident.
     
  13. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    True, the change of your avatar from Mass Effect (fantastic B5 style twist) to Babylon 5 is what attracted me to come here.

    But I didn't get the Peanuts reference (I more a Duck Dodgers kind of fan ;)), I have to admit. What did I miss?

    As for Psi Corps how about this (for in- and outsiders): "Don't suspect a friend, report him!"

    Bob
     
  14. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    The Peanuts reference is in reference to Lucy getting Charlie Brown to attempt to punt, and every time, no matter how careful Charlie Brown is not to fall for the trap, and no matter how Lucy guarantees him she won't do it this time, sure enough, he goes for the kick, and she snatches the ball up, and Charlie Brown takes a tumble. JMS made this reference at least once when apologizing yet again for things not working out when he believed (and shared with fans) that a deal was coming/was sewn up and new B5 would be on it's way soon. I believe it was when The Memory of Shadows almost came about. (JMS/The fans would be Charlie Brown, Lucy would be WB, and B5 would be the Football)
     
  15. Yoda

    Yoda Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Leave it to JMS to get mad that a popular TV show threw his show a reference :lol:
     
  16. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    I spent $80 a pop on each season when they came out on DVD years ago. I still have them, the movies, and Crusade. I even ponied up for "The Lost Tales." The only thing I don't have is "Legend of the Rangers," and even then its mostly because besides being fucking terrible, it's just never in stock at my local Best Buy or Target. The completist in me would love to have it, but the other 97% of me just can't be bothered to track it down.

    Anyway. I'm glad you all are reaching out together to try to make something happen. That being said, let's not try to pretend like this is some dark age where there be no Babylon 5.

    Amazon has each season in stock with a price ranging between $25 to $40 a piece which is sometimes less than half what the sets cost when they were first released. There is no drought, the series isn't being secreted away by Warner Bros. It's still out there and if you can afford to pay for a Netflix streaming bill every month, it's likely you could also afford to just get the DVDs themselves.

    Not trying to be a moonface assassin of joy. Just pointing out some perspective.
     
  17. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    In case it's not anyone posting here, just wanted to pass along that someone has started a #FreeBabylon5 thread at SyFy board (I didn't catch the subforum it's in, but, saw a thread as a recent post, in their preview of latest 3 or 5 posts earlier today) so, it seems word is getting spread

    @doubleohfive, Jan points out the campaign concern is, that someone would want to sample some or all of it, before buying DVDs (And has to know it exists, hence recommendations to friends is always a plus). Also, if you pay Netflix every month (which is nowhere near the price per month of even a single season at $40), that's money already spent, so, you don't have that to spend on the DVDs unless you cancel your Netflix subscription.
     
  18. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You don't have to get the quote, you just have to be interested enough to wonder over and see what all the noise is about. Mission accomplished. ;)

    P.S. Maybe I misunderstood the context, but how was my ME avatar a "B5 style twist"? It was just a pic of Tali.

    As has been already stated, the point of getting the show back on TV and/or subscription based streaming services isn't to make the show available for people who want to see it, it's to get the attention of people who've never seen it and grow the fan base.

    Nobody in their right mind will buy a whole season, let alone a whole series on DVD if they're not already familiar the show. Home video is generally for people who are already fans. Regardless, the way WB is organised, it wouldn't matter if B5 DVD sales were outstripping the GDP of Canada. As far as they're concerned the show never turned a profit.

    It certainly works for me since in the last year I've burned my way through the entirety of '24' and (so far) the first three and a half season on 'The West Wing' on LoveFilm.com. Both are shows I was aware of back when they were on, but never got around to watching till now. Didn't even occur to be to try until I saw them on my recommended list and I now consider my self a fan. It's also how I got caught up on 'Castle' and 'Big Bang Theory' after running across the odd episode on TV. I also didn't watch 'Buffy' or 'Angel' when either shows originally aired, but caught them on repeats after getting hooked on 'Firefly'. I wouldn't have even been aware of 'Firefly' if Sci-Fi wasn't repeating the show ad nauseum one weekend when I happened upon it. So yeah, the more places a show is on, the more people will watch.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  19. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    @ Sindatur

    Thanks for explaining The Peanuts reference. I wasn't aware of this one.

    I thought that the conclusion of Mass Effect had a fantastic twist in the best tradition of Babylon 5 and your previous Tali avatar provided a nice opportunity to mention that.

    In other words and for those that equally enjoyed the video game Mass Effect, I strongly recommend watching B5 because it's full of such surprising and shocking story twists. ;)

    Bob
     
  20. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    ...is insane. --JMS
    It's already been explained nicely but here's how JMS has phrased it at conventions sometimes:

    For those interested, we've got over 2,500 'Likes' to the Facebook page as of last night. Pretty good for nine days, I think. A volunteer has just begun working on the website and there's just over a day left in some eBay auctions I'm doing to help fund the site and some buttons I'm having made and other expenses that may come up.

    Thanks to those who've helped with artwork (particularly Reverend) and contact information.

    Jan