October 3, 2015: A Dark Matter Performance Evaluation!

With Dark Matter‘s first season off to – by all accounts – a rollicking star on Netflix, I wanted to look back on the show’s performance to date.  Specifically, I wanted to look at the show’s overall performance.  Which, at the end of the day, is easier said than done.

Over on SyFy, Dark Matter is (the last time I checked) the #2 original scripted show on the network, and holds the #3 spot in the oft-discussed “key demo” (averaging 0.24, just a tick behind the #2 spot averaging 0.25).

Internationally, the news was even better, with Dark Matter pulling in BIG numbers in territories like the U.K., Australia, Portugal and (closer to home) Canada!

When it comes to downloads, however, the results are a little…murkier.  How many downloads from the network websites?  iTunes?  Other legitimate sources?  I don’t have that information.

How about illegitimate sources?  Well, ironically, that information is a little more handy.  According to thedrum.comDark Matter was one of the top ten most pirated shows in June, July, and August.  The September analysis is forthcoming, but I expect the results will be similar.

On the one hand, I’m heartened to see there are so many smart, tech-savvy viewers out there checking out the show.  On the other hand, all those “other” smart, tech-savvy viewers don’t really factor into the show’s renewal prospects.

Still, Dark Matter‘s online popularity suggests that our creative approach to the show’s narrative has paid off as expected.  We set out to create a character-driven series that built dramatically over the course of its 13 episode first season run, setting up mysteries, paying them off, peppering each story with twists, turns, and surprises, building momentum toward our shocking finale.  In other words, we wanted to create a binge-worthy series that viewers HAD to keep watching – and, overall, it appears we’ve succeeded.

My hope is that, between now and the season 2 premiere, we continue to build our audience so that we come back in the summer of 2016 bigger and better than ever.  And, of course, the way to do that is to get the word out – and get people watching (and even re-watching).

October 3, 2015: A Dark Matter Performance Evaluation!

So, while you’re out watching and getting the word out about the show, we’ll be busy making it.  This week, Paul and I head to Toronto for meetings with Executive Producer Vanessa Piazza and Production Designer Ian Brock.  The week following, Akemi and I (and the dogs!) make the big move.  And then – things are going to get crazy!

26 thoughts on “October 3, 2015: A Dark Matter Performance Evaluation!

  1. I’m excited for S2 already! Best of luck in TO, I do hope the meetings go well (I’m sure they will.)

    Seems crazy that you guys are headed back there again so soon – didn’t you just leave for Toronto a couple of months ago? 🙂 That’s sure what it seems like. Then again, it seems like hardly any time has passed since Dark Matter was nothing but a hopeful gleam in your eye. I can’t believe things go by so fast.

  2. Dress warmly. The weather this way has been COOL… And, even chillier at night! — You might have to “field-test” any DARK MATTER scarves and/or toques that happen to be floating around waiting for Merchandising “approval”!

  3. You should be very proud. Dark Matter is a great show. I only wish the season was longer than 13 weeks. I want more! Looking forward to you and Akemi and family going back to Toronto. It is equally fun “watching” your show being made from this blog. Thank you so much for all the behind the scenes detail you give! You’re a great man Joe.

  4. Sadly, those who pirate a show may be the very reason a show doesn’t get renewed. I suppose – like those who shoplift – they think it’s just a little thing and it doesn’t hurt anyone. So self-centered, they can’t see beyond their own greed – they want it, and they’re gonna get it – not caring that their actions end up not only hurting the store, but everyone else who shops there. Likewise, by not adding their ‘voice’ to the legitimate viewership, numbers appear smaller than they actually are and a show’s chances of renewal dwindles, and if it gets cancelled then we all suffer as a result. Pirates are despicable.

    Except Jack Sparrow. 🙂


  5. The above doesn’t quite make as much sense as I thought it did – poor thought transition and whatnot. I’m sleepy and should be in bed. 😛


  6. Once you move to Toronto, start working on the show, it will be smooth sailing.

  7. Hi Joe
    Great news! I know you’ll do well next season.
    Oh, I’m nearly finished the Stargate rewatch (I’m on season 10) and I just spotted Jodelle Ferland as a young Adria. That girl gets around.


  8. Hopelessly addicted! Downloaded the entire series from ITunes. On both my iPad & iPod – have been through the season several times and listen to it on my drive into work. Sounds great on my car stereo! It takes me about 40 – 45 minutes to commute in – perfect timing for each episode. I am spreading the word that it’s on Netflix & telling my nerdy friends to watch.

  9. I love Dark Matter! It’s really addicting and got better with each episode! I wrote a couple of posts about it on my blog and got a couple of views on it … not that many comments though, so I have no idea what people thought. I cannot wait for (hopefully) many more seasons to come!

  10. Hi joe,

    Don’t suppose you have any news on any international Netflix releases, namely the UK? Like you mentioned there’s a huge international following of Dark Matter but we can’t steam it over here!


  11. I watch on cable, and record the series for my husband to watch when he is at home. I could buy it on Amazon, too. But hey, I get Stargate free with my Prime subscription!

  12. Looking forward to reading our way thru production for season 2! I love that you share with us the day to day behind the scenes action.

  13. In a previous post you asked what viewers would like to see in season 2:

    – I’d like to see more of creative non-vfx camera and image composition. To me, the often comic-strip-style posture of characters (like Three standing ever ready to draw :)) didn’t always quite work before a backdrop of sometimes rather conservative-looking camera set up, often resulting in a TNG-like stagey look of the show…as in “camera looking into rectangular box with characters distributed artificially on green marks on the floor for maximum camera visibility”. I’d say: bring in either more natural character scenes where characters drop the act of posing for more intimacy, or scenes that go all the way to glorious comic-strip-style over-the-top greatness aided by all means of camera, cuts and lighting – or both!
    – Secondly, plausibility ranks high with me and the future was surprisingly low-tech sometimes given today’s level of tech development…I’d have thought that recycling of all fluids was pretty much standard on any spaceship. Smuggling Five into a top-secret research facility in a container, when today we have finger-print and iris scanners, and there’s x-ray machines at every law court…? hm…
    – Also, bring in as much every-day tech as you can, which was the most fascinating thing about the Star Trek world. In that respect the burning question is: Who cleans the floor panels which are obviously total dust traps? Somehow I can’t see Two wielding the vacuum cleaner. Self-cleaning materials? Cute little cleaning robots making for fun encounters??
    – Who was the previous owner of the ship and how did it get into possession of the crew?

  14. Hey Joe… My thoughts exactly. You/we need to get the news that Dark Matter is on Netflix to SciFi fans in general rather than people who have already watched it. I’ve seen no off-season buzz since the renewal. Really needs to feature in a news article with broader exposure.

    I recommend it to people I chat with on Twitter etc. though.

    Well it’s back to work tomorrow after 3 weeks off sick…. It started off as annual leave… I got nothing done though… *sigh*.

    Cheers, Chev

  15. I’ve mentioned this before so I’m sorry if I sound like a broken record. However, it appears that many of us who are not able to catch this on SyFy at the regular time are unable to watch it on the SyFy website if we use our Kindle Fire HDX devices. There seems to be an ‘issue’ between SyFy and Amazon. The message is that SyFy doesn’t allow viewing on the Kindle Fire. Whatever the issue, though, it hurts your ratings. We can get HBO GO on our Fire, so I can’t figure why SyFy doesn’t make it available on the Fire as well.

    I love the series and want to see it continue!

  16. Great to know that the show has done so well with the “desired” demographic. It seems that television ratings have yet to catch up with economic data-that those over 49 have more disposable income ( to spend on advertisers products) than those in that category. I was glad to see that your strategy included episodes airing around the world in the same week. In sure that increased legitimate viewing. As to those pirates–perhaps there is data to indicate where they are. China? North Korea? Russia? I am sure there are places where Dark Matter did not officially air. However, with global communication the way it is, word of the show would have reached geeky people in those parts of the world. Still I hope that measurable viewership increases during the “off season.” One way that might boost viewers would be more convention appearances by the cast between the time filming ends and the second season airs. I had never watched Doctor Who, Torchwood or Arrow before my path crossed that of John Barrowman at a convention. He was so charming it led me to much binge watching to see his work.

  17. I’m looking forward to your BTS blog entries throughout Season 2 production. There’s always lots to read because so much is happening day-to-day!

    Also, more Q&A with you and the cast/crew…….

    And what has wardrobe got in store for the cast, especially Tabor Calchek! David Hewlett has to be geared up in more of those classy, snazzy outfits 😚

    Tidbits and teasers about…
    and, new characters….
    and, alternate sets….
    and different locations….
    and…and…and 😉

  18. Thare MANY places where Dark matter didnt air besides China, North Korea and Russia. And I dont mean 3rd world countries, but civilized western modern countries all over the place. I would guess tens of thousands if not more of international stargatefans dont want to wait 12-18 months until it get on a local channel. And I fully understand them. Saying its all about stealing is just clueless. Sorry.

  19. I dropped cable a year ago, but watched them all via Space.ca here in White Rock. Hopefully they put stock in all the digital downloads, and I’m glad it’s on Netflix, perfect platform for a binge worthy show, to get people hooked for season 2.

  20. I had a massive moment of excitement when i saw it on Netflix, the only thing that stopped me binge watching was that i had to go to sleep for work the next morning :). Its a fabulous piece of work. can’t wait to finish watching

  21. I have been without Cable for years now and any show I cannot get on Hulu I buy off iTunes. Which is how I watched Dark Matter. I would hope that the network could somehow take into account those of us who buy the show.

  22. Hey howdy!
    I get the frustration of the people unable to find DM on the Kindle Fire. If we did not have our AppleTV, we would also not have it where our $$ put it.

  23. Suprised to read about Portugal being huge…I’m one of the numbers and I have been following your blog since the Stargate days. It also helps I’m a major food lover and also love your sense of humour. I know I started following Stargate because I had friends I made in the US and they sent me tapes of the episodes, then i started buying the DVD’s to have my collection. Fast forward years later and you gave us Dark Matter and all I can say is THANKS, there was a gap missing of these kind of sci-fi series that are fun, intriguing and smart. I look forward to season 2 and with Sci-fi cancelling some of their financial big shows they should at least give more budget to Dark Matter and possibly arrange so you could have more episodes each season like Stargate.

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