What's Behind All the Simultaneous ‘Prelude’ Tweets?

‘Star Trek–Horizon’ viewership rapidly gains on ‘Prelude’

See also: Why Star Trek–Horizon’s Success Matters

REPEAT TWEETS Multiple Twitter accounts posted the same tweet at the same time, urging readers to watch Prelude to Axanar. How come?

Targeted Tweets

Suddenly on the evening of August 7, 2016, dozens of seemingly unrelated Twitter accounts all spouted the exact same tweet pointing people to Prelude to Axanar on YouTube.

The accounts were clearly targeted with an odd geographical emphasis on the San Francisco Bay Area and the South and, of course, genre accounts like @StarWarsNews1.

The AxaMonitor twitter account noted all the tweets, focusing on two examples. Both accounts promptly blocked @AxaMonitor. Simultaneously.

The appearance of the same tweet across dozens of accounts suggests a coordinated campaign, probably paid for.

UPDATE August 10, 2016 — Axanar denies buying tweets.

Why Buy Tweets?

But why buy tweets in the first place? And why now, more than two years after Prelude to Axanar was released? The Twitter account @TrekSentry47 pointed out Star Trek–Horizon has racked up — in only five months — nearly the same number of views as Prelude, which took two years to get its views. And Horizon is rapidly closing in.

‘The Most Successful Trek Fan Film’

Those numbers may present a challenge to what, in July 2016, Axanar director Robert Meyer Burnett claimed on Twitter: “By any metric, Prelude to Axanar is still the most successful Trek fan film,”1) apparently based on the 2.5 million views since its premiere at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2014.

New Leader on the Horizon

See also: Axanar, Crowdfunding Behind New CBS Moves Against Fan Films, Says 'Horizon' Creator and Horizon Creator: Axanar 'Not Wholly Innocent'

USS DISCOVERY The Discovery was the starship featured in Star Trek–Horizon and its aborted sequel, Federation Rising, the first casualty of the Axanar lawsuit.

However, Prelude‘s claim “by any metric” as most successful fan film may change in less than a month if Horizon‘s monthly viewership holds up. Horizon‘s views are currently 2.3 million, but it has an average monthly viewership rate of 467,942, compared to Prelude‘s 104,630.

Axanar Denial

So is someone trying to encourage more people to view Prelude? Contacted by AxaMonitor, Axanar spokesman Mike Bawden said no:

I’m not aware of a Twitter ad buy to promote the Prelude to Axanar YouTube page. I know that when the crowdfunding campaigns were running in 2014 and 2015, we advertised on Facebook to drive people to the [Kickstarter] and [Indiegogo] pages, but I’m not aware of any recent marketing-type initiatives to drive people to [Prelude‘s] YouTube page.2)

In a follow-up statement two days later, Bawden said:

UPDATE Just before 2 pm PDT, August 23, 2016, Star Trek–Horizon overtook Prelude to Axanar. Horizon had logged 2,565,757 views, compared to Prelude at 2,564,967.

I spoke to Alec about this yesterday and he confirmed that Axanar Productions has not made any Twitter ad buys — no ad buys of any sort since the crowdfunding campaigns, actually.3)

‘Horizon’ and ‘Prelude’

See also: Axanar Accuses Horizon of Buying Views

The feature-length Star Trek–Horizon was produced for under $50,000, while the 22-minute Prelude cost more than $120,000. Horizon‘s planned sequel, Federation Rising, became the first fan film casualty of the Axanar copyright infringement lawsuit.

Both Star Trek–Horizon and Prelude to Axanar are available on YouTube:


Email from Mike Bawden to AxaMonitor editor Carlos Pedraza, 8/8/16.
Email from Mike Bawden to AxaMonitor editor Carlos Pedraza, 8/10/16.
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