Written by Shaun Daniels and Edited by Sharon Wong
A mere three days passed after Fox handed down a cancellation notice to Terra Nova, the hot stove heated up over a possible new home for the show. Currently, the rumor mill has the dinosaur/time travel/survival series going the way of Netflix. It’s as if show creators Kelly Marcel and Craig Silverstein were expecting this bit of news and planning to shop the show around right from the cancellation get-go. Although Netflix is known for its streaming and DVD rental subscription service, it isn’t new to the TV resurrection game; in 2011, the company announced that they would be distributing Season 4 of Arrested Development, which will serve as a lead-in to an eventual film.
Before anyone does a Fred Flintstone jump for joy over the Netflix rumors, here is Terra Nova by the numbers: The average cost of a Terra Nova episode is $4 million, which is $1 million over the typical $3 million price tag for an hour long drama. Production time on the show was the standard eight to nine shooting days but post-production came in at a lengthy six weeks, twice the amount of time for hour long dramas. This extended post-production schedule is no surprise considering Terra Nova is a special effects-driven show. If Netflix becomes the show’s new network, the company would be taking on a very costly venture with no new pricing model to recoup the cost at current time. Unless the service adds an original content fee, the series would be available for all streaming Netflix customers at their standard streaming $8 price.
A possible barometer for an additional fee structure is indicated by Terra Nova’s performance on iTunes. Though no numbers have been released, iTunes was extremely pleased with its performance with the show garnering 3,800 written reviews, just under half of the reviews of top downloaded show, The Walking Dead. Terra Nova, from a TV ratings standpoint, averaged 6.5 million live viewers per episode and an approximate 3 million additional viewers from DVR’s. The DVR numbers are not a major factor for live TV but for Netflix that means a potential 10 million viewers. One of the reasons for Netflix’s interest in the series could be to use the show to increase the number of subscribers as the company suffered major financial and subscriber losses last year. Having a show with a built-in audience that is still fresh in people’s minds may be the boost Netflix is looking for and needs. It seems the “Save Our Show” letter writing campaigns have gone the way of the dinosaurs as online media content providers are the new TV show saviors. Just look at Endgame; rumors are also swirling that Hulu might be picking up the prematurely cancelled Canadian show.
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