Marketing 50

'Battlestar Galactica'

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Since his year-ago promotion to senior VP-marketing, Adam Stotsky's mandate at NBC Universal's Sci Fi Channel has been to take a brand that's beloved by pocket-protector-wearing geeks and make it palatable to a wider TV audience.

A defining challenge for the new philosophy was the launch early this year of "Battlestar Galactica," a series with roots dating back to the '70s when Lorne Green and a cheesy robotic dog starred in the low-tech "Star Wars" on TV. Everything from posters to promo materials sold "Battlestar" as a straight-up drama with fantastical elements. "We wanted to completely reposition this show and the genre along with it," he says.

Mr. Stotsky, 37, and his team did not overlook the faithful. They aimed directly at longtime "Battlestar" fans, many of whom were suspicious of a new incarnation. The team screened the show relentlessly, took cast members to the comic book gathering ComiCon, integrated the series' ads into video games and streamed the premiere online. They gave cable operators original content and recruited influencers, identified through Web chat rooms and bulletin boards, to spread the word.

"Battlestar" became the highest-rated original Sci Fi series, drawing 3.1 million viewers at its premiere and increasing its time period ratings by triple digits.

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