Syfy Analysis - Broadcasting & Cable

Syfy Analysis

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Syfy programs its line-up differently every night of the week, with no strips or similar fare to carry viewers across the week. Most nights have seen dramatic change in the past year, with weekend movies remaining the only constant, particularly the SYFY ORIGINAL MOVIES premiering every-other Saturday at 9PM.

Mondays have shifted from low-rated GHOST WHISPERER and STAR TREK to original series. Mondays are now a marquee night, with original series headlining in the summer and winter seasons. Tuesday underperformed with alternate reality and is back to movies for now. On Wednesdays the once powerful GHOST HUNTERS franchise is fading and newer paranormal programs are moving in. Thursdays went from reality programming to an unpredictable mix of movies, acquired series and STAR TREK: NEXT GENERATION. WWE SMACKDOWN has revitalized Friday nights, bringing a lot of new male viewers to the net and a solid male lead-in for original series at 10PM.

DECEMBER PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / December 2011 vs. December 2010  (% Change)

HH

M18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

 5%

 10%

  16%

Tuesday 8-11pm

 58%

 73%

  55%

Wednesday 8-11pm

 -1%

 -24%

 -12%

Thursday 8-11pm

0%

  3%

   3%

Friday 8-11pm

 9%

 18%

   9%

Saturday 8-11pm

 -2%

  3%

   2%

Sunday 8-11pm

 -4%

  -8%

  -4%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

 8%

  10%

  5%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

DECEMBER 2011:  Syfy brought 2011 to a good close, improving year over year ratings again in December. The network seemed to find its footing when it focused on male viewers, and ratings have been climbing steadily. About 57% of Syfy’s audience was male this month, while last year the number was closer to 52%. Men 18-49 ratings are up 10% vs. both last year and last month, while men 25-54 numbers climbed 10% from last year and 15% from last month. Ratings for women are up as well, but by slightly smaller percentages..

Syfy focused on one night at a time to bring viewers into the fold. Monday saw the most dramatic changes, with the night going from STAR TREK in the SciFi Channel years to low-rated female skewing GHOST WHISPERER in the early Syfy years, to scripted original dramas this year. Successful programs such as ALPHAS and BEING HUMAN helped Syfy turn the corner in 2011.  Acquired series LOST GIRL and a new season of BEING HUMAN launch the winter season in January 2012, and should make a positive impact and a good start to the new year. But in December, Monday night’s programming profile was low with movies dominating the night. The standout was the two-part “mini-series” Neverland, which kicked off the Countdown to Chrismas stunt, Following in the footsteps of Tin Man and Alice, Neverland is a retold fairytale. It pulled slightly better ratings and much better reviews than its predecessors.

Tuesdays are still a work in progress, never quite finding an identity since wrestling moved to Friday nights. Tuesdays are usually a mix of movies, specials and encore telecasts. This month held an abundance of specials, helping to bring up the ratings. A special live telecast of WWE and Christmas episodes of EUREKA, WAREHOUSE 13 and HAVEN all helped Tuesday to a solid ratings rally.

Wednesday nights are the least changed night on Syfy, with GHOST HUNTERS holding court for most of the time. FACT OR FAKED: PARANORMAL FILES has started to move in, and its November 30 finale pulled in much-improved numbers vs. last year. While the program’s ratings are easily topped by original eps of GHOST HUNTERS, FACT OR FAKED holds a better male skew and has positive momentum, while GHOST HUNTERS skews heavily towards older women and has lost audience from last year.  Of note, the Christmas GHOST HUNTERS episode was a stand-out, as was the Halloween episode a couple of months back. Syfy has been stepping up its themed holiday programming efforts, to good effect.

Thursday nights were movies again, and supporting the holiday-theme theory proposed above, ELF was the top performer. As sister network USA continues to cut back on its primetime play of theatricals, Syfy has been airing some of USA’s traditionally higher-rated titles, such as the perennial favorite ELF, along with Pirates of the Caribbean and Narnia, traditional USA stand-bys.

Fridays are still the high-point of the week with WWE driving the boat. SANCTUARY was the beneficiary of the strong male lead-in, but ended its season on a down note, off 18% on core men 25-54 vs. last year.

The weekend movies (including the premiere of part 1 of Neverland), dramatically drove up ratings vs. last month, but Saturday/Sunday performance was fairly even with last year. Other ratings highlights included original movies Ice Quake, Snowmageddon and Earth’s Final Hours, as well as USA-type blockbusters Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean.

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