Nine months after bringing the pilot episode to DVD, and just weeks from its highly-anticipated debut, Syfy president Dave Howe told reporters Monday the network was going to release a censored version of the pilot online so that anyone with an Internet connection can watch it for free.
The move is a bold one for Syfy, and Howe admitted to Airlock Alpha that it could make the audience tuning in for the same episode in January smaller than reality.
“The more people that we can encourage to watch that pilot and come in for the series, the better off we’ll be” in the long-term, Howe said.
The ratings will be something Syfy takes a close look at, especially since “Caprica” has the added pressure of being an offshoot of the network’s popular critically acclaimed series “Battlestar Galactica.” Syfy has already yielded to the possibility that ratings for the pilot could be lower than the series average.
“We talked about it endlessly,” Howe said. “It’s the risk we took in releasing it on DVD first, and the risk we take in streaming it. 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.”
The streamed version of “Caprica” will be different from the one released on DVD earlier this year. The nudity prevalent in the pilot episode will be axed — as it will be for the broadcast version — and new scenes and upgraded special effects have been added, Howe said.
This is the kind of media consumption for the future, Howe said. At the same time, people who watch the pilot elsewhere still might want to tune in as the premiere will give a detailed look at what’s to come in the first part of the first season.
Airlock Alpha is one of the many outlets hosting the complete pilot, labeled as an “extended cut,” which can be found by clicking here.
“Caprica” premieres Jan. 22 on Syfy.