We continue our new editorial series “As the Wormhole Turns” with something new that is launching Sunday December 12, 2010 at 12 PM Eastern, 9 AM Pacific time!
We ask; ‘what is happening in the Fringe fandom?’ Is it something that is in response to the movement of Fringe from Thursday to Friday nights beginning January 21, 2011 at 9 PM EST / PST in the United States and Canada. The answer is yes there is a new campaign, The Fringe Network!
Are the Fringe fans worried? Some are, yes. But is Is Fringe really circling the drain to its destruction? Hardly. Watch the videos and please read on to find out why Fringe will be just fine. Thank you!
Stretching in an arc from Germany to Australia across North and South America, and unlike fans of other series who wait until a series is non renewed (as previously reported by ArcticGoddess1) and then complain when they failed to promote and support their favorite show, a dedicated group of Fringe fans from across the globe has banded together to promote this fine series.
Why are these particular Fringe fans executing this campaign? The answer: To attempt to effectively demonstrate the support that exists for the program, and help convince Warner Brothers (the production company) and FOX Networks (the broadcast network) to renew the series for a fourth year and beyond.
Who are these brave souls about to venture into alternate realities and universes to support their favorite television series?
The self described name of this group is called The Fringe Movement or TFM. TFM is an international team of whom WHR is a part (via news analysis). TFM is operating a Twitter account called Fringe Network and is now in process of executing a planned series of web sites of the same name to spread the word about #FringeFriday! The sole purpose of this team effort is to support Fringe when the series moves to Friday evenings at 9 PM ET/PT in the United States and Canada on January 21, 2011. We respectfully suggest you follow them as well. Thank you.
WormholeRiders News Agency (WHR) has agreed to participate in this project from a news reporting perspective. WHR will follow and report on the effectiveness of this effort as a journalistic “embed” member of the team by analyzing their benchmarks and milestones against the actual results achieved (a fourth season of Fringe). In fact WormholeRiders has been supportive of TFM since its inception earlier in 2010 and was among the first to suggest the term Fringe Friday which has been accepted as a Twitter hashtag by the team (#FringeFriday).
WHR is planning on running a regular weekly Fringe analysis series beginning in January 2011 to monitor progress. We hope that other on-line and even print or television media will take notice as well and track the progress and effectiveness of this fan inspired effort.
We include The Fringe Movement Press Release dated December 10, 2010 below this analysis for your edification and enjoyment.
Many have asked me the same or similar question? “Why do several members of our news team feel strongly about a series like Fringe that is still in production which has a good chance of being renewed for a fourth season?”
The logic is rather simple. As we have previous reported on “As the Wormhole Turns“, one of the reasons to support such an effort is that this campaign is being performed pro-actively in response to a belief that a Friday time slot is the pending death of Fringe as a series. The pro-active nature of this campaign is a good move by fans in our opinion. Why? Fringe has over half a season of episodes remaining in 2011. TFM is taking “the bull by the horns” so to speak well before the return of Fringe on January 21, 2011. Bravo!
Mirroring similar pre-emptive efforts by Stargate Universe (Give SGU Season 3) and Sanctuary (Support Sanctuary Season 4) fan groups, The Fringe Movement may very well be preaching to the choir. How? Fringe has a relatively healthy 3.4 United States market share (against very stiff competition), hovering just below or above 5 million live viewers in the United States (according to accredited projections from Nielsen ratings service). As a result, Fringe with the much loved characters Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), Walter Bishop ( John Noble), Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick), Nina Sharp (Blair Brown), Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole), and of course Gene the Cow (as himself – snirk), appears to be safe for the time being.
In the opinion of this reviewer, Fringe finishing fourth against such stiff competition on a Thursday evening, while recovering from a slump during the mini-hiatus during Baseball’s World Series is admirable. In fact Fringe has done well since being moved out of its original Tuesday time slot with 7.34 million viewers average for season 2 (see reference table below).
However, TV By The Numbers (among other touts) are stating that Fringe is “likely to be non renewed by May 2011”. These statements appear to be based on the long term analysis in United States from questionable statistical application sources. I believe these could be proven wrong and here is why. Before proceeding, consider what is crazy is that people keep quoting (and re-quoting) this single story ad-nausea by several dozens if not hundreds of sites (Google them, they come right up) as if the original source were the gospel. It is NOT the gospel as we will share with you below.
TV By The Numbers appears to be making a prognostication because Fringe dropped from nearly 10 million viewers (9.96 million) in the first season 2008, to 7.34 million viewers in 2009 according to Fringe Wiki and other confirmed sources which quotes several authoritative references. (Click image below and look under the section “US Ratings” by scrolling scroll down).
While this may appear to be a significant drop of ~2.58 million views, comparing viewing numbers on different weekdays is like comparing apples to oranges. Nor does doing so reveal the entire story since the view counts above include re-run viewing not calculated in the current 5 million LIVE viewer rating projections as we illustrate and will discuss further below.
To counter the negativity of the yellow journalists “stirring up the pot” about the Fringe move to Friday’s in 2011 that are being proclaimed by so called experts, Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly commented (which was re-quoted all over the internet) and was recently remarked on the official Fox Fringe Thread “If it (Fringe) does anywhere near what it did on Thursdays, we can glue that show to the (Friday) schedule because it can be a big win for us.”
Long before Mr. Reilly made this statement, I hypothesized that the move to Friday was a good idea. Articulated to many people including those on TFM, this was documented in an e-mail. Only the future will determine the veracity of the hypothesis. But consider this: The fact that SyFy is running a wrestling series in the United States may make Fringe a perfect Friday evening alternative for people seeking an outstanding science fiction show with wormholes, parallel universe, alternative reality characterizations, action, mystery, suspense, a pending war and romance.
Second, let us explore the so-called Friday night “death sentence” for a series in the United States. This is a load of tripe. In fact such allegations are an urban legend without a valid statistical foundation as you will see below. Based entirely on a few series that failed in the Friday evening time slot, certain yellow journalists to this very day churn up this rumor into a lather to get fans of their favorite television show upset. Why do certain news sites whip up this lather? Why of course to get you to visit them!
The Friday ‘death sentence” is a myth pure and simple. Specifically with regard to science fiction series, the myth of Scifi death by Friday’s started with Star Trek in the 1960’s. Two recent and very famous examples of Friday night success immediately come to mind: Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis which each had over 5 years runs on SyFy on Friday nights. We include additional examples over the past 40 years below of television series that thrived on Friday night in the United States market (where this unfounded myth was born).
As we proceed, lets discuss ratings as bit shall we? Not simply focused on Fringe, WormholeRiders News Agency has observed a trend of late for a number of news sites to quote rating numbers that are incomplete or appear skewed to apparently generate controversy.
The effect is often yellow journalistic in nature to create an environment to draw visitors to their sites. Such tactics are often not based on the viewing realities of today’s audiences, but designed to garner web hits for generation of advertising revenues in the opinion of this observer. I do not think Agent Broyles of the FBI would approve of these methods either! I know from where I speak, and below is the why.
After some 30 years in the computer industry in senior management with a focus on analysis, quality and statistics, I learned that statistical sampling methodologies must follow certain rules for the results to be considered valid.
Otherwise it is simply guessing. However, networks are not guessing when it comes to who is purchasing advertising and syndicating the series in other markets around the world. Such is the life blood of a network in being able to continue to produce a television series like Fringe.
Back to statistical sampling for accurate results in ratings. A prime example is the United States Military Specification 105E (MIL-STD 105E), now known as MIL-STD-1916. The purpose of such specifications is to produce an AQL, also known as an “Acceptable Quality Level”, without an AQL, the numbers are next to meaningless. These standards are widely accepted in various industries the world over and have been for decades to provide accurate and meaningful statistical analysis.
Several news ratings sites are using partial ratings components not reflective of the manner in which today’s viewing audience actually watch television programming. Nor is the sampling method statistically accurate. What do we mean by incomplete and inaccurate? Quoting only live viewing or partial live viewing statistics or parts thereof the morning after a broadcast are misleading at best designed to generate controversy.
Partial results comprise only a portion of how people in most parts of the world are viewing television and are not properly designed to produce accurate results. Instead such touts apparently quote and re-quote these suspect numbers to get attention (attract visitors and obtain web hits) rather than using statistically accurate methodologies. Simply quoting a number does not make it accurate. The methodology must be revealed and analyzed.
For a television ratings ‘system’ to be accurate, it needs to be inclusive of, but not limited to the following components:
1. Live viewing with a large enough sample size to be statistically accurate. This is an important component that takes several days to obtain sufficient data to produce an accurate statistical sample. Often referred to as the PLUS 3 LIVE VIEWING number, this is critical in advertisers decision making on whether or not they will continue to invest advertising revenues in a program.
2. Repeat live or re-run viewings (important for advertising revenue generation) as noted above.
3. Time shifted DVR / PVR viewing. (counted, but not as important because viewers can often skip past the commercials. If you want your shows to survive, view them LIVE during first run to pay homage and respect the advertisers)
4. On-line viewing at the studio or networks web site(s).
5. On line viewing at authorized licensed sites like Hulu and etcetera.
6. Legal downloads from authorized sites such as iTunes
a. This is problematic since accurate numbers for repeat viewings of downloads are subjective in nature at best and are not easily obtainable.
b. Nor are repeat viewings of downloaded materials easily verifiable using empirically accurate statistical methods.
c. Therefore only the actual download is or can be counted.
7. DVD and or Blu-ray sales.
8. Lastly something very critical to consider is that most of these television touts seem to forget: Revenue generation from syndication in international and local markets after their prime runs of the broadcast network. Who owns such rights often becomes a deciding factor on whether or not a series is continued. In the case of Fringe, no fewer than twelve (12) countries currently license the show. This factor is expanding to further markets in 2010 and 2011 according to confidential sources that I cannot disclose.
Further complicating the accuracy of ratings is a very sore subject that this reviewer abhors; Illegal downloading or piracy. The question of how much is being lost from illegal downloading or piracy by people who call themselves supporters of a series is more than troubling.
If fan support groups desire that their programs are to continue, they MUST tell all their friends do not illegally download programs (or movies for that matter). Telling their friends to not illegally download is proper behavior and critical to send the proper message to the networks and studios that a specific fan support group effort is genuine. The message must be delivered publicly and in the open for maximum effectiveness. If a fan support effort is based upon such proper behavior, with adherence to ethical and moral values, the effort will likely be deemed worthy.
A good example is the “Save Chuck” campaign where the legal purchase of the episodes and DVD’s coupled with increased live viewing was promoted. The ethical actions of the fan support groups convinced NBC (the broadcaster) and Warner Brothers (the production company) to order another season.
Conversely, fan groups that support illegal piracy by sharing links to streaming sites or ‘torrent’ sites will be dismissed by “The Powers That Be” (often referred to as TPTB) as unworthy, false, simply unethical, untrustworthy and frankly made up of criminals. Want to help kill a show?
Supporting illegal downloading in any way shape or form is your ticket to cancellation of a series. WHR asks that you do NOT support illegal downloading or engage in piracy. Thank you.
We here at WHR are confident that The Fringe Movement (TFM) understands these requirements and will not allow posting of illegal site links on their Fringe blogs or fan forums. However, should it be brought to the attention of WormholeRiders News Agency management that TFM is supporting illegal downloading we will be among the first to report it here and to law enforcement around the world.
Conclusion: If all these factors are not considered, partial ratings, partial touting, partial anything is just that, partial. The worst part of this unfortunate situation is that dozens if not hundreds of other sites use these flawed numbers and quote them over and over again sending incorrect and misleading “guesses” upsetting the loyal viewers much like the upset human Marionette illustrated below.
Here at WormholeRiders News Agency we suggest waiting for the networks PLUS 3, 7 PLUS 14 and CONFIRMED Nielsen ratings to provide statistically valid LIVE viewing results. We suggest that you the viewer do so as well and take partial ratings touts with “a grain of salt” as the old adage goes.
TFM PRESS RELEASE: December 10, 2010
For Immediate Release: The Fringe Movement and its soon-to-be launched Fringe Network web site presents the latest PRESS RELEASE on our Favorite Fox drama’s scheduling change in 2011.
“Save Fringe” is a somewhat negative call to arms that naturally led to a shift in creative vision. Our goal as fans and social network marketeers is to develop a refined image of a strong, popular show landing in a new day/time slot that is simply brimming with potential.
Fox Network only asks for viewership to remain stable after the move from Thursdays (where Fringe had to compete with Grey’s Anatomy and CSI). Fans believe the ratings results can do much better than that, with the proper grass-roots campaign.
So here it is: The revised spin breathes fresh air into the concept of watching Fringe LIVE on Fridays at 9 p.m. EST. Fringe is the best produced, best designed, best acted, best scored drama scifi show on TV. It deserves to be a big part of your Friday Night entertainment plans. It will start off your weekend with a bang. Don’t like Sci Fi? You’ll love the family drama and sexual tension and romance. Not so much for mystery or parallel universes? Then watch for the exciting crime-solving drama as the FBI teams up with Dept. of Homeland Security. Crime drama too heavy? Just check out the smart, amazing humor in so many beautifully crafted scenes.
Fringe is here to stay in our hearts and minds, and it must stay on our TVs — LIVE and DVR. “FRINGE FRIDAYS!” is the upbeat, catchy and enthusiastic yet elegant watchword for prime-time TV beginning Jan. 21, 2011, with the episode entitled “Firefly.” Join the Fringe Friday Twitter team FringeNetwork and visit the Web site at The Fringe Network (launches 12/12/10).
Get involved in spreading the upbeat Fringe Friday news to all friends and family using every communications tool you can think of. We’ll provide fliers, artwork, videos and much more to come.
FRINGE FRIDAYS! — Spread the word NOW.
Fringe returns January 21, 2011 9 PM ET/PT. As always thank you for reading and visiting WormholeRiders News Agency. Please feel free to leave a spam free comment or question here or click one of the social media icons below to share this article.