It likely will cost Syfy on premiere night Jan. 22, but there appears to be some tremendous interest in the "Battlestar Galactica" prequel series "Caprica."
Since releasing the entire pilot episode online several weeks back (and months after first releasing it on DVD), more than 1.5 million people have watched the "Caprica" pilot through the Internet or on DVD, according to trade publication Multichannel News. The episode has been offered through Syfy.com, Hulu, and other places.
While those are strong numbers for a cable show, it does create a question of how "Caprica" will do Friday when it airs virtually the same episode made available in so many places.
In answering a question from Airlock Alpha during a telephone conference last month, Syfy president Dave Howe said while airing the episode early might hurt premiere numbers, it's good for the long-term prospects for the series.
"The more people that we encourage to watch that pilot and come in for the series, the better off we'll be," Howe said at the time. In deciding whether or not to offer "Caprica" early to the masses, Howe said he and the bosses "talked about it endlessly."
"It's the risk we took in releasing it on DVD first, and the risk we take in streaming it," he said. "In this climate, with the audience we have, it's the right thing to do. We have this amazing techno-savvy audience that isn't going to always watch linear TV like a linear audience."
Those who watched the pilot already still might want to tune in, Howe teased. There will be some new features included in Friday's airing as well as a "supertease" of the rest of the season.
Syfy has been marketing "Caprica" rather heavily on a number of sites, including Airlock Alpha. It also is looking for the Hispanic audience by doing Spanish language ads on both Telemundo and Mun2. In fact, Syfy will rebroadcast the pilot on Mun2 as well as Universal HD.
It also had screenings at film festivals around the country.
Syfy will see if it all pays off Jan. 22 when "Caprica" premieres at 9 p.m. ET to start an 18-episode run.
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