As Heat Rises,So Do Syndie's Numbers

Compared to broadcast and cable, off-net shows stabilize in summer
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With syndication earning stable ratings returns and many programs ranked among the top of all television programs, Mitch Burg, president of the Syndicated Network Television Association (SNTA), is busy convincing marketers to move more of their money into syndication during the summer months.

Ratings for syndicated shows decline only about 10% in the summer over their May performance average, while ratings for broadcast network television fall off nearly 40% once June hits, according to the SNTA.

“What this says is, there are viewers available, and you have to invest in the right programs to reach them,” Burg says. He counts syndicated shows—especially top-rated offnet sitcoms—among those programs.

“Summer is the second busiest sales period of the year: More cars are sold in July than any other month, and kids are going back to school and back to college,” Burg says. “And the big summer blockbusters come out in June and July. What happens is that smart marketers say, ‘I have to move product, so I need to have a different solution for the summer than I have for the rest of the year.’ Whether that’s consumer packaged goods, auto or movies, marketers are acknowledging syndication’s strength in the summer and moving some money out of primetime and into syndication.”

Syndicated shows also appear to grow in strength as the week goes on, making them even more appealing to advertisers in the categories that Burg cites. In June, syndicated shows represented five of the top 10 programs among adults 18-49 on Thursdays, with shows airing on CBS and ABC comprising the other five. On Fridays, the number of syndicated shows in the top 10 increased to eight, according to an SNTA analysis of how shows performed in June.

Moreover, average daily consumer spending also gathers steam as the week progresses, according to a Gallup poll conducted in October 2009. On Mondays, consumers spend an average of $59 per day. When Thursday rolls around, that increases to $63 per day, topping out at $76 per day on Saturdays, explaining why advertisers want to reach consumers before they head out to America’s shopping malls and movie theaters.

In general, syndicated shows make up five of the top 10 shows each week within the key adult 18-49 demographic, as well as 17 of the top 25, and 30 of the top 50. That picture is even better among adults 18-34, with syndicated shows occupying seven of the top 10 shows, 18 of the top 25, and 31 of the top 50, on average, each week.

Those top performers include syndicated hits such as Warner Bros.’ The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men, and Twentieth’s Family Guy.

This summer, syndicated shows have led all of the television rankers among both adults 18-49 and adults 18-34, holding their own against such popular programs as NBC’s America’s Got Talent and History’s Emmy-nominated miniseries Hatfields & McCoys.

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