COMMERCIALS


Q: Does OWL guarantee there will never be any commercials, ever?
A: OWL guarantees that there will never be any OUTSIDE commercials. What that means is that no organization other than our own will be permitted to show you commercials. Ever. Period. You have that in writing.


Q: So, does that mean that YOU will be showing us commercials for your own service?
A: That depends on how you define “commercial”. We will be showing previews of shows that we plan to premiere in the near future. We will be showing “coming next week” squibs at the end of episodes. We will also be showing the occasional “you are watching OWL” spot – something like the “IF” spots the former Sci Fi Channel used to show, only with our own signature touch. We may occasionally present major channel or company news in the form of a brief squib. If you consider such things to be commercials, then yes, we will be showing commercials – but ONLY of these particular types. If you do not consider such squibs to be commercials, then no, we will not be showing commercials. In any case, these squibs will always occur BEFORE or AFTER the show, and they will NEVER, EVER interrupt the show. Once a show starts, it will play straight through, just as shows that you purchase or rent on DVD have no commercial interruptions.


Q: What does that mean for me?
A: Well, obviously, you benefit by not having to waste your time and energy dealing with commercials by waiting through them or editing them out. But the big benefit is even greater. A channel that does not accept advertising is not beholden to the advertisers. Advertising-supported channels ultimately take their marching orders from big businesses, not from their viewers. They make their decisions of what shows to cancel and keep, and what shows to play in what timeslot, based on advertising revenue and ratings. They pay little attention to the fan base. By contrast, a subscription-based channel takes its orders directly from the fan base, because those are the people who are paying the bills. The subscription-based channel is completely dependent on keeping its core fan base happy. That means you.


CONTENT


Q: What kinds of programming will OWL offer?
A: OWL serves up science fiction and fantasy programming for science fiction and fantasy fans. This is our reason for existence, and this is what we will offer.


Q: Will you show anything other than science fiction and fantasy?
A: We will also offer alternate history.


Q: Anything else?
A: No.


Q: What about wrestling?
A: Definitely not.


Q: Are you sure? No wrestling?
A: We are absolutely positive. We guarantee it!


Q: What about horror?
A: No.


Q: What about the supernatural or paranormal?
A: This area is the main province of our sister channel, Beyond. While we will certainly offer a good science fiction or fantasy show with paranormal elements, all programming categorized as paranormal and supernatural programming belongs on Beyond, and therefore will not appear on OWL.


Q: What about other genres that are considered related to science fiction and/or fantasy?
A: The simple answer is no. Related genres are related, but they do not belong here on our channel.
A: The complex answer is: While we will gladly blend genres, bringing you fare that contains some science fiction or fantasy with a touch of other genres, we will not be serving up anything that does not contain an element of science fiction, fantasy, or alternate history.


FORMAT


Q: What sorts of television programming will you offer?
A: We will offer several types of weekly television formats, including:


  • American-style series
    • Long seasons of 22 - 26 episodes
  • Half-length series
    • Seasons of 12 – 13 episodes
  • British-style (short) series
    • Short seasons of 4 - 10 episodes
  • Miniseries
    • Self-contained short series of 3 to 12 episodes, with a definitive ending
  • Open Miniseries
    • Self-contained short series of 3 to 12 episodes, which could be complete and end, but which could also become a regular series later (as happened with the new Battlestar Galactica)
  • Continuous series
    • Regular (weekly, daily, etc) shows that seldom (if ever) take a break, and are not divided into formal seasons.


Q: What about movies? Are you planning on making movies?
A: No.


Q: Really? No movies at all?
A: We exist to bring weekly series to our viewing audience. A movie has no place on OWL, unless it is somehow related to one of our series. We might, however, make occasional exceptions for movies that relate directly to our weekly programming. A possible exception would be a “backdoor pilot” movie – that is, a movie which serves as the pilot episode for a series. Another possible exception would be a movie providing backstory or early history for a current (or recent) series that airs on OWL.


Q: How do you figure you can offer continuous series?
A: A continuous series is one that never (or seldom) takes a break, and is not divided into seasons. These are usually talk shows, soap operas, and similar fare – shows that require little post-editing, and which often have a rotating cast of characters or hosts. We do plan on rounding out our schedule with some daytime-quality fare.


DRAMATIC FORMAT


Q: What types of original programming can I expect OWL to produce?
A: Naturally, our flagship programming will be primetime-quality scripted dramas, dramedies, and sitcoms. We proudly and lovingly make these three flagship formats our top priority. Even so, we will round out the schedule with a variety of daytime-quality programming.


Q: How much flagship programming can we expect?
A: Our goal is to offer 7 original dramas or dramedies per week, at the rate of one per day, every day of the week. We also hope to offer 6 original sitcoms per week, at the rate of two every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.


Q: So, 7 dramas/dramedies and 6 sitcoms per year?
A: No, that’s per WEEK. We will be introducing the concept of eternal original programming. Whenever one series wraps up its current season, we will put something else in its slot the very next week. A year contains 52 weeks, so we will be bringing you 364 episodes of various drama or dramedy shows and 312 episodes of various sitcom shows each year. That translates to 14 American-style original programs, plus 7 or more British-style or Miniseries programs per year for drama and dramedy. That’s at least 21 different drama or dramedy shows per year. It could be even more if one American-style length was dropped in favor of multiple shorter-length programs. This packed schedule will make us the leading producer of original science fiction and fantasy in the industry.


Q: Are you crazy? Do you know what that would cost to produce?
A: Yes, and yes. *grin*


Q: Okay, what’s this about “daytime-quality programming”?
A: In the broadest sense, daytime-quality television has lower production values and/or lower cost than primetime-quality television. In general, it would include talk shows and other reality programming, unreality, soap operas, low-budget cartoons, and so forth. We will set aside a portion of the budget to bring this sort of fare to the table, providing additional variety and quantity.


Q: What, are you saying that you’re planning on serving up lots of crappy reality shows?
A: No, we’re not saying that. We will never sacrifice quality for quantity. Or in other words, we will never let the price tag of a show affect our judgment about whether the show has any value to our core audience.


Q: Erm, so are you planning on doing reality programming or not? I’m confused.
A: The term “reality programming” encompasses a wide variety of different types of television programming – including talk shows, teaching or “how to” shows, and so on and so forth. We do, indeed, plan to bring some carefully-selected reality programming to the channel. The key is in selecting programming that will appeal to at least a segment of our core audience.


Q: Well, all I heard was the word reality. I don’t want another channel that runs nothing but crappy reality programming.
A: That will never happen! First of all, our goal is, and always will be, to offer 7 dramas or dramedies per week, and 6 sitcoms per week. While it may take some time to build up to that goal, we will always aim to achieve that level of original programming. Any and all reality programming will be in ADDITION to the flagship programming schedule. It will never replace our flagship shows! Second, you need to remember that our fan base is also our top boss. Your opinion counts with us. If the fan base walks away, then OWL goes out of business – just like that. We need you.


FINANCIALS


Q: How do you expect to afford all this?
A: In order to break even on our monthly expenses, we will need nearly 4.5 million subscribers. If we have at least that many subscribers, then we can afford to provide all the great programming we plan.


Q: What if you have fewer subscribers?
A: If we cannot get 4.5 million subscribers, then we will not be able to provide all the great programming we want to provide. We will have to scale back our offerings to match what we can afford.


Q: Wait a minute. Subscriptions aren’t the only income available to you, right?
A: Correct. In addition to subscriptions, we will sell DVDs and other media containing collections of episodes or even single episodes. Other possible income sources include merchandise sales and licensing the right to rerun our shows on other (most likely foreign) channels.


Q: So, if you have other sources of income, why do you think you need to break even on subscriptions?
A: Quite simply, if we don’t break even on subscriptions, then we will constantly be robbing the DVD sales of past successes to pay for the current crop of shows. This situation would put us in a constant precarious position. Under these conditions, a huge mistake would cause a delayed financial disaster. If the secondary revenue streams we rely on dry up, we would soon be declaring bankruptcy, and all our shows would end. By contrast, if the subscription fees pay the full cost of creating the shows, then the secondary revenue streams are “extra” money, not needed for mere survival. This means that the stability of the company is never in danger. Therefore, we can serve our core audience, our loyal subscribers, without fear. The subscribers remain the primary focus of the channel.


Q: How much will a subscription cost?
A: A subscription to OWL only will cost $15 for Sagavision Gold and Sagavision Platinum members, and $18 for everyone else. A joint subscription to both OWL and Beyond will cost $25 for Sagavision Gold and Sagavision Platinum members, and $28 for everyone else.


SUBSCRIBER BENEFITS


Q: What do I get for my subscription money?
A: Subscribers are entitled to many benefits. These include:


  • Naturally, the main benefit of a subscription is access to the channel. You can watch anything and everything the channel produces 24/7 throughout the duration of your subscription.
  • You will also have 24/7 unrestricted access to the virtual OWL Subscriber Lounge in Sagaworld, where you can hang out any time and meet other science fiction and fantasy lovers. In addition, we will host many events here. These events will include opportunities to meet actors, writers, and directors of your favorite shows. Other events will include lectures of interest and open discussions (on pre-arranged topics) you can participate in. You will even have a regular opportunity to meet channel executives and tell them what you think to their faces. All activities taking place in the Subscriber Lounge will be free extras, but only available to current subscribers.
  • You will receive Loyalty Badges, which are virtual items on display in Sagaworld. You will get a bigger and better Loyalty Badge every three months for as long as your subscription continues uninterrupted. Better Loyalty Badges can unlock additional subscriber benefits.
    • Even if you do not choose to actively participate in Sagaworld, your Loyalty Badges will still accumulate, and you will still be entitled to the additional benefits they provide.
  • Each subscription is entitled to Voting Rights. The channel will regularly issue surveys, polls, and ballots that subscribers can register their opinions on. The channel will pay active attention to the results. Surveys and polls will help channel management keep in touch with what the subscriber base is thinking, and should help keep communication lines open. Ballots, however, are formal voting tools to determine important issues. Whenever the channel issues a ballot, the majority result will be binding – meaning that the channel execs will have to do what the majority vote tells them to do. One subscription equals one vote. (This is true even if there are multiple people sharing a subscription, sorry.)


Q: What benefits will Loyalty Badges get me?
A: Aside from proudly displaying your longevity as a subscriber, better Loyalty Badges will buy you:


  • Admission into deeper, more exclusive Loyal Subscriber Lounges in Sagaworld.
  • Discounts on all DVDs purchased directly from OWL.
  • Coupons - good for any number of things, including free merchandise, discounts on OWL merchandise, discounts on admission to real-world events, etc.


Q: What is the difference between a subscriber and a supporter?
A: A subscriber pays a monthly fee in exchange for monthly service, and other subscriber benefits. The subscriber’s benefits end if the subscriber allows the subscription to lapse. A subscriber could be an individual, but a subscriber could also be a family unit, a household unit, or a group of two or more roommates – basically, any people who share a television set can share a subscription. By contrast, a supporter pays a single, one-time fee as a show of support for science fiction and fantasy television programming. Once a person has become a supporter, that person retains supporter status for life. Supporters receive special benefits, as outlined on the supporter page. Some of the supporter benefits last a lifetime. Only individuals can become supporters.


Q: Can I be both a supporter and a subscriber?
A: Of course! We encourage all our supporters to become subscribers… and all our subscribers and potential subscribers to become supporters. Supporters do not actually get channel programming unless they also become subscribers.


MESSAGE BOARDS


Q: I’ve got suggestions, requests, or comments for OWL. Are you actually paying attention to the message boards?
A: Yes, we are! We especially keep an eye on the “suggestions” forum and the “wishlist” forum. We’re looking forward to hearing what you have to say!


MISCELLANEOUS


Q: I’ve got a great idea for a series for your channel.
A: Excellent! Please review our submission guidelines. Before submitting, please make sure that your submission is ready in every way!


Q: I think I have sort of an idea, but it needs more work, or I want to see what other people think first.
A: That’s also cool! Please feel free to make use of our “workshop” forum. Get comments and suggestions from other fans, work with it, and watch it grow into something great! Just make sure to REGISTER your idea at WriteSafe (http://www.writesafe.com/) first, for your own protection.


Q: What’s the difference between an idea for a show and a request for a show?
A: These are different in two ways:


  • First, a request could be vague (but doesn’t have to be), while an idea has to be at least somewhat specific. For example, if you want to see more shows set on spaceships, that’s a request. If you want a show featuring unicorns, that’s a request. If you’d like to see more Muslims, that’s a request. However, if you want a show set on a spaceship named Galaxia, which is a Class-H frigate that has been decommissioned from active duty because it’s over 100 years old and very out of date, well, you might just have an idea here.
  • Second, and more important, any story element (premise, setting, etc.) that you want someone ELSE to do is a request. By making a request, you are giving blanket permission for someone to take your thoughts and run with them. If you are sharing your ideas for comment and critique, but keeping the rights to the story for yourself, then it is an idea – and not just any old idea, but YOUR idea.

Ideas belong in the “workshop” forum, while requests belong in the “wishlist” forum.


Q: Do you actually pay attention to requests?
A: Why, yes. If we have a lot of requests for something, and we get a great submission that answers those requests, we will be more inclined to buy it. Of course, we can only provide what the creative people bring us, but your requests help us figure out what we are looking for!