Syzygy: The Social Viability Network
Last week, I spotted an interesting news article from a website I’m not legally allowed to divulge. It was about an Ohio-based company called Syzygy that was creating a new cable television network. Their tagline: SciFi – for real SciFi fans. According to the open letter to SciFi fans, they have the groundwork all laid out, the business plan is in place. They even claim to be able to reach profitability in four years! The only catch is that they need to prove to their potential investors that people would watch their network, should it even happen.
So what Syzygy has done is create a Facebook page – because nothing says social viability quite like Facebook, apparently. Their goal, it seems is to get 100,000 supporters on their page, to prove that The Syzygy Network has the potential that the investors are looking for.
Sound familiar? It should.
Months ago, in one of my first articles on HereBeGeeks.com, I shared about Rekill: The Social Viability Comic, a creative work that hoped to tap on Facebook “fans” – a term which has since been retconned to “like” – in order to prove to investors that they had a sufficiently large consumer base. Rekill’s goal was ambitious – a 100,000 supporters, and back in April this year, they crossed their first milestone of 5,000, prompting them to release a prequel comic in a show of appreciation. Unfortunately, since then, their page has only gained slightly over 700 more members and they look far from reaching their goal of 100,000.
From the looks of it, the same thing is going to happen with Syzygy. The fact remains that there is a lot more that needs to be done to ensure the support of fans, than just creating a page and hoping it will carry by word of mouth. Fans love to feel like they matter, and even when their individual influence is minimal, as a collective force they can be significant. Syzygy, like Rekill before it, fails to truly capture the imagination of the fanbase and I doubt it will be able to achieve the magic 100,000 number unless major changes are made.
But decide for yourself. Here’s the open letter by founder Dave Andrews.
Hi friends. All of you should know by now that we’ve been working over the last couple of years to create a new cable television network. This new network would be for SciFi fans and run by real SciFi fans.
We’ve been working very hard to come up with a plan that would be attractive and profitable to investors and still create a healthy, sustainable network that would be around for decades to come. We now have that plan. It’s going to cost us $60 million to get this network going. Believe it or not, that’s a very small amount to start a cable television network and it means we’ll have to sacrifice for the first few years. It means very little original programming for the first five years of the network’s life in order to keep startup costs low. There are investors out there who like the plan and would like to be a part of something this exciting. We’ve shown them a plan in which The Syzygy Network can reach profitability in four years.
However, that plan assumes that people will watch the network. The investors have told us that they don’t simply want our word that SciFi fans would love to have a new network. They want proof.
Here’s how you can be a part of this. We need numbers. Not little numbers…BIG numbers.
DO YOU WANT a new SciFi network???
Then tell people about it. Go to:
Like the page. Tell your friends to like it. Tell them to tell their friends.
Let’s make this page a phenomenon on Facebook. I’ve seen the power of the SciFi fan. I’ve seen it make Star Trek go another year. It worked again for Star Trek: Enterprise, then again for Jericho. Each of those shows got an extra year after the networks had decided to cancel them. That same power resulted in the browncoats getting Serenity, the theatrical movie out of the ashes of Firefly. I’ve seen full page ads in Variety to the producers of shows like Earth 2.
I’ve seen SciFi fans change the world, just as SciFi itself did before them. We are a powerful group of people. We have the power to do this. That power comes in numbers.
Help make the Syzygy Network page one of the biggest, fastest-growing pages on Facebook. With the numbers proving that there’s room for a new SciFi network the investors won’t have call to say no.
Make your voices heard. Let them know you want a new network that believes in you, that loves you and was created by real fans, not some group of corporate net heads (we know how good their decisions about SciFi shows are!). We understand we need to make a profit to survive, but it’s not our only motivation.
Syzygy is not all about the bottom line. It’s about you. Help us make it happen.
CEO and original founder,
The Syzygy Network
Hi Guys. As the dudes behind Rekill, wanted to add a comment. I know you ripped us a bit on a weak story (although hardly fair as you haven’t yet read/seen the story, but we’ll save that convo for when it comes out), but thanks for encouraging people to support us either way. The reality is that there is a hard cost to building the fan base, be it ad buys on and off facebook, or the $$$ output to produce totally free content (like our teaser issue). When we were spending, we were averaging about 200 news ‘fans’ a day. Since the teaser release we’ve stopped the spending while we work on the full interactive graphic novel. So, just wanted to point out to your readers that the strategy was an experiment that did serve its purpose getting us to the next stage. But they should be aware that there are real costs and they should be prepared for the ongoing cash output.
Hey Todd, thanks for sharing! We’re no strangers to the dilemma of spending money in order to build fanbase, ourselves, so we feel your pain. I’m happy to hear that you consider the experiment a success and I’m looking forward to reviewing the full interactive graphic novel on HereBeGeeks.com!
Hi, thought I would add my take on this. I’ve been part of the experiment that eventually would lead to the forming of the Syzygy Network since the beginning (technically, since before it I guess). Currently I work as a volunteer on the project, trying to help spread the word and helping them out on the technical side of things. You may also know me as the site admin that posted the news article on the website you’re not legally allowed to divulge.
I agree with you. Up until now, Syzygy has sort of failed to capture the imagination of the fanbase in a way that would garner the support we are eventually looking for. (Actually, let me stop on that point for a second; the 100k fans figure is not arbitrary – it was chosen because Syfy, who we intend to compete against, is right now at around 120k.) This is due to two factors; one is that we don’t have the resources to do all the pushing required to increase the growth of the page much beyond what it is now, although we ARE trying, and the second is that in order to even have the slightest chance of making this a reality we will be very limited in terms of original programming for the first five years or so. This sucks, and we know it – especially the last part. However, we DO have multiple well-developed projects owned by the Syzygy umbrella that *will* eventually appear on the network if it goes to air. Original programming, just waiting to pop out of the woodwork. There is some very good stuff in there, but even before that we are looking to acquire the rights to more obscure stuff that perhaps hasn’t even been seen in the States before. And let me tell you, there is some good stuff out there of that kind 🙂
We are currently getting about 100 new “likes” per day, purely by word of mouth – not a dime has been spent on advertising yet. It’s OK, but it’s not enough. The Syzygy Network really could use more publicity 🙂