FX Performance/Schedule Analysis - November 2008 - Broadcasting & Cable

FX Performance/Schedule Analysis - November 2008

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of December 19, 2008)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

Adults 18-34 & Adults 18-49

NOVEMBER 2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

SONS OF ANARCHY, THE SHIELD, IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

When movies represent nearly 100% of the primetime fare, biggest titles run on Thursdays and Sundays. When originals are on the air bigger movie titles are usually scheduled as lead-ins. In November there are four new series running.

Those series premiere on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. 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 show now gets just one primetime run.

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

OCTOBER - NOVEMBER:

No changes to the schedule, except for the grand finales of each of the original series (which are replaced by movies)...see below..

NOVEMBER:
PREMIERES:
** NONE

FINALES:
** November 20: IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA
** November 20: TESTEES
** November 25: THE SHIELD
** November 26: SONS OF ANARCHY

DECEMBER AND BEYOND
PREMIERES:
**January 6 @ 10PM: NIP/TUCK (5TH Season)
**January 7 @ 10: DAMAGES (13 eps, 2ND Season)
** March '09: RESCUE ME (13 eps, 5TH Season)

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

FX continued in full swing this November, with something old (THE SHIELD), something new (SONS OF ANARCHY), something sunny (IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA) and something funny (TESTEES). With the exception of TESTEES, these programs are all thriving, and have helped FX pull out a top network ranking again this year.

The net was firing on all engines this November, but the same can be said of last November, when NIP/TUCK and SUNNY were airing. And so year- to-year comparisons show a slight ratings decline among households (-7%) and women 18-49 (-15%), while men 18-49 were up just 2%.

Compared to last year, movies were down on-average for both men and women. Top performing titles this year among 18-49s (The Green Mile, Christmas With The Kranks, Transporter 2 and The Day After Tomorrow), pulled in lower numbers than last November's top rated titles (Home Alone, XXX, Christmas With The Kranks, The Day After Tomorrow, I Robot and 13 Going on 30).

The lone returning program from last year was IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA. The dark comedy improved nicely, with a +19% jump in HH ratings, +11% for men 18-49 and +44% for women 18-49. Despite this big jump among women, the program still has a strong male skew.

In fact, all of FX's originals have a strong male skew. In fact, even the bottom-line total for the movies has a male skew. And so we can chalk up another strong month for this male skewing network that seems to have found its identity and a strong landing place for quirky, slightly dark movies, dramas and comedies.

NOVEMBER 2008 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

FX recovered nicely from the slight dip it took last month, and is showing bottom-line double digit increases across the board. Household ratings are up by 10%, people 18-49 ratings are up +13% and people 25-54 ratings are up +16%.

As discussed above, the originals are working for the network, and are the driving force for FX;s ratings as well as its branding. When originals do well, and the network gets cross-promotions and scheduling right, movies are able to ride the wave. Fortunately, that was the case this November.

Monday night's movies produced the lowest ratings of the week across the board, but the night did show improvement vs. last month among men 18-49 (+13%).

Tuesdays, driven by THE SHIELD, showed the most growth this month with a consistent 30% ratings increase on demo. The program had a strong finish, both critically acclaimed (Time Magazomes #1 program of the year, AFI's top ten list) and strongly viewed. According to an FX press release, The Shield ended its historic seven season run by averaging 3.51 million total viewers and 2.27 million Adults 18-49 on a multi-run basis.

Wednesdays brought us SONS OF ANARCHY, and the five top-rated telecasts of the month. The program has continued to gain audience since its premiere, up another 10% or so on demo this month vs. last.

Thursdays was SUNNY, which did marginally better than last month (+5% people 18-49), and TESTEES, which lost quite a bit of audience. That program was down nearly one-third on demo from last year.

Movies round out the rest of the week, and of course their ratings are primarily driven by title selection. Fridays were up for both men (+17%) and women (+42%), Saturdays were up slightly for men, down slightly for women, and Sundays were the reverse, down slightly for men, up slightly for women.

And that's your FX for the month. The network pulled out their big guns (literally and figuratively with SONS OF ANARCHY), had their grand finale (literally and figuratively with THE SHIELD) and even gave us a few laughs (with SUNNY and TESTEES).


ACQUISITIONS:

It was announced in October 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.

FX is very much a part of the 2008 theatrical pre-buy frenzy, snapping up aggressive packages from various studios. Chuck Saftler, FX EVP said in Variety it is part of their strategy to go after "every quadrant" of the 18-49 demo.

In June it was announced FX will 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 not yet released in the FX package include Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Deathrace, Baby Mama, The Express, Changeling and The Strangers.  Titles already in theatres include 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 completed recently include Columbia's Spider-Man 3, Superbad and Ghost Rider and Disney's Wild Hogs.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

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.

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (Comedy) Original series
13 episodes in development premiered September 18. 39 additional episodes ordered, to air through 2011.

NIP/TUCK (Drama) Original series
22 episodes in production, 14 more have been ordered, for a total of 100 episodes. Its last season will be in 2011.

RESCUE ME (Drama) Original series
A 22 episode fifth season has been ordered.

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

THIRTY DAYS, the network's only reality show, was cancelled after three seasons

THE RICHES will not return for another season, with disappointing ratings cited as the culprit.

DIRT has not been picked up for the second half of its second season. (Just 7 of the 13 ordered episodes were produced, due to problems encountered from the Writers' Strike. Those 7 episodes performed well below the first season.)

THE SHIELD's last season premiered on Tuesday, September 2.

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

None.

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