FX Performance/Schedule Analysis - March 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of April 26, 2009)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

Adults 18-34 & Adults 18-49

FEBRUARY 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

NIP/TUCK

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

When movies represent nearly 100% of the primetime fare, biggest titles run on Thursdays and Sundays. When originals are on the air, they tend to run mid-week - Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 10PM, and bigger movie titles are usually scheduled as lead-ins..

FX was never a network to run multiple encores of its series, a la BRAVO, and it has even given up on running encores on Sunday nights, so each program now gets just one primetime run. However, movie titles tend to run multiple times throughout the month...

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

FEBRUARY - MARCH:

NIP/TUCK finished up its Tuesday run on March 3rd. and, DAMAGES still runs on Wednesdays, with movies filling out the rest of the schedule.

MARCH:
PREMIERES:
** NONE

FINALES:
** March 3 @ 10PM: NIP/TUCK

APRIL AND BEYOND:
PREMIERES:
** April 7 '@ 10PM: RESCUE ME (22 eps, 5th Season)

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

March 2009 was not one of FX's better months...household ratings fell seven percent vs. last year, while men 18-49 ratings were down ten percent and women 18-49 ratings were down six percent.

The original dramas on the air this month were NIP / TUCK (Tuesdays), with the last two episodes of the season, and DAMAGES (Wednesdays), which was winding down its second season. Last year's originals were DIRT (Sundays) and RICHES (Tuesdays).

DAMAGES brought down the Wednesday night average, particularly among men, who preferred last year's all-movie line-up to this year's movies and DAMAGES. Tuesday night is slightly up this year, due to NIP/TUCK. And Sunday nights movies performed significantly better among women this year vs. last year's movies and DIRT.

As always, the vast majority of the line-up is about movies on FX, Top rated titles of the month include The Marine, Transporter 2 and Godzilla. FX favorite Mr, and Mrs. Smith also made the top-rated movie list.

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison:
March 2009 vs. March 2008  (% Change )
HH         M18-49    W18-49
Monday 8-11pm              -16%           -25%          -20%
Tuesday 8-11pm                 3%              1%           10%
Wednesday 8-11pm        -16%           -31%            -6%
Thursday 8-11pm            -13%           -13%           -26%
Friday 8-11pm                   11%              0%            27%
Saturday 8-11pm               -3%            0%            -4%
Sunday 8-11pm               -16%           -5%           -26%
MTWTFSS 8-11pm           -7%           -10%             -6%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

MARCH 2009 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

FX''s bottom-line primetime ratings are down by about ten percent vs. last month. That doesn't sound too bad, but the average hides the fact that there was only one night with higher demo ratings.

Monday through Thursday took serious ratings hits this month. Monday night's movie performance was off by 12% vs. February.

Tuesday was down 14% on men 18-49 and 30% on women 18-49. This was primarily due to NIP/TUCK leaving the air after two weeks. The fifth season finale of NIP/TUCK aired on March 3rd, and was by far, the highest rated telecast of the month. However, ratings were slightly lower than they have been this season, and core women 18-49 ratings were 39% lower than the February '08 season four finale.

Wednesday is DAMAGES night. The program has never been a big ratings grabber, but it has been grabbing even fewer ratings than ever. Compared to last month, women 18-49 ratings are down by 13%. (On the plus side, women 25-54 ratings for the show increased by four percent over last month.) The program sits at the bottom of FX's demo ratings heap, underperforming movie skeins and filler eps of THAT "70s SHOW.

Thursday's movies took a big loss this month vs. last (sweeps?), as household ratings dropped -18%, men 18-49 ratings dropped -24% and women 18-49 ratings dropped -26%. To add insult to injury, median age increased by +15%. Wednesday and Thursday are the lowest rated night on the net.

Friday night was the ratings bright spot this month. Godzilla and S.W.A.T. helped pulled up the men 18-49 ratings by 31%. The rest of the weekend was relatively flat, helping to offset the weekday losses.

ADDITIONAL RATINGS ANALYSIS: The second-season finale of DAMAGES was notably lower than its first-season closer. Wednesday night's (April 1) DAMAGES pulled 1 million viewers, 500,000 of which were adults 18-49. That's down 32% in the demo from last season; though, as one would expect, the finale was above average (by 11%) compared with its overall average. FX ordered a second and third season at the same time back in '07, so the show is considered safe even with the drop-off. (THR)

ACQUISITIONS:

Acquisitions are all about movie packages on FX. They are a key player in the movie after-market, primarily going after male-skewing, edgy titles.

Immediately after the release of Monsters vs. Aliens, FX struck a deal with Dreamworks Animation for that title, plus  upcoming theatricals through 2012, including Shrek the Fourth, Kung Fu Panda sequel, the original Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, among other titles. (The network has been running the Ice Age and Home Alone titles with some success lately).

In early 2009, FX made a deal with Paramount Pictures on a multiple movie title package covering Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Most of the movies were 2008 releases and will be available to FX by the beginning of 2010. Transformers will be available at the end of 2011. Other package titles consist of Cloverfield, Tropic Thunder, Eagle Eye and Beowulf plus a few other smaller films.

Back in 2008 the net got more aggressive about purchasing big packages, many of them done as pre-buys. For the most part, the movies are adult, edgy titles or comic-book fare (Spiderman, Hulk, Fantastic Four).

The following lists past theatrical acquisitions that include movie titles that have not yet started airing:
It was announced in October 2008 that FX purchased the cable rights to three 20th Century Fox movies: Max Payne, The X-Files: I Want to Believe and The Rocker. FX paid an estimated $8 million for a four-year term that begins in late 2010/early 2011.

In June 2008 it was announced FX would pay approximately $11 million for the exclusive cable network-window rights to air the Sony film You Don't Mess With the Zohan starring Adam Sandler. FX's window opens in 2010 following the exclusive pay-TV run on Starz.

On March 25 a $115 million+ Universal deal was announced. The deal comprises most of the titles on Universal's 2008 slate; about 15 titles, many of which are prebuys. Titles include The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Wanted, Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Leatherheads. Other titles in the FX package include Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Deathrace, Baby Mama, The Express, Changeling and The Strangers, Jarhead, Definitely Maybe, Doomsday (Rogue Pictures), Eastern Promises and In Bruges (Focus Features). The FX window kicks in about 28-30 months after the theatrical release, with the first of the bunch available summer 2010.

The Sony Columbia Pictures package also includes prebuys to five unreleased titles, which are Vantage Point starring Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox, The Pineapple Express starring Seth Rogan, Step Brothers starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, 21 starring Kevin Spacey and The International starring Clive Owen. According to Variety, the deal also includes these three other released films: Walk Hard, Untraceable and We Own the Night. FX is scheduled to air the featured films within about 28 months of their debut in theaters and pay-per-view channels.

Marvel has struck a deal with FX for the TV rights to Iron Man, Incredible Hulk and three others in another pre-buy arrangement.

FX paid $55 million for the exclusive network-window rights to five theatrical movies from 20th Century Fox:  The Simpsons Movie, Live Free or Die Hard, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Death Sentence and Hitman. The movies become available to FX in fourth quarter 2009, after their pay TV runs on HBO. The movies are all consistent with FX's male-oriented programming strategy.

Other deals include Columbia's Spider-Man 3, Superbad and Ghost Rider and Disney's Wild Hogs.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

RESCUE ME (Drama) Original series
A 22-episode fifth season will premiere April 7th, (and finale on 9/8) and an 18-episode sixth season was pre-emptively ordered in February '09. .

SONS OF ANARCHY (Drama) Original series
Renewed for a full 13-episode second season.

DAMAGES (Drama) Original series
Picked up for two more 13-episode seasons. (The first of these seasons is currently on-air).

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (Comedy) Original series
39 additional episodes ordered, to air through 2011.

NIP/TUCK (Drama) Original series
A total of 100 episodes have been ordered. Its last season will air in 2011.

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

No recent announcements

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

None.

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