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, but the schedule has begun to settle down.

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.

FEBRUARY PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / February 2012 vs. February 2011  (% Change)

HH

M18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

 23%

 20%

  42%

Tuesday 8-11pm

 56%

  48%

   52%

Wednesday 8-11pm

 26%

  10%

   21%

Thursday 8-11pm

-15%

  -18%

   -11%

Friday 8-11pm

 -3%

   4%

    3%

Saturday 8-11pm

 25%

   3%

   18%

Sunday 8-11pm

 -15%

  -27%

  -18%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

 12%

   5%

  12%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

FEBRUARY 2012:  This was a solid month for Syfy as the net achieved ratings near the top of its spectrum, increasing adult ratings by more than 10% vs. last year and spurring growth on most nights of the week. Syfy has settled into its own skin as the night-by-night strategy shifts and programming changes have become less drastic, allowing audiences to find the shows they want to watch.

Mondays were successfully set up as a female-skewing night for original series. BEING HUMAN and LOST GIRL ruled the night, spurring Mondays to 43% growth on women 18-49 vs. last year. Both programs will be back on Syfy for another season. Because it was an acquired series with two seasons already produced, LOST GIRL’S second season will be back soon; making its Syfy premiere in mid-April. BEING HUMAN received a renewal notice just four weeks into its second season, and will be back next year.

Tuesdays are still struggling.  After WWE moved to Fridays, programmers experimented with various reality programming loosely based on science fiction, but nothing stuck. The night is usually filled with movies now. The occasional WWE special will turn up on Tuesdays, as it did this month, giving the night a big ratings spike. In fact, this month the one week of wrestling produced as many audience impressions as the other three weeks of movies combined, and was able to lift Tuesday night’s ratings by 62% on men 25-54 vs. last month. Which shows the untapped potential Tuesday nights hold.

Wednesdays are the other female skewing night on Syfy. One of the few remaining franchises left from Sci Fi Channel, GHOST HUNTERS sets the pace for the evening. The program was showing signs of wear this past fall, but was back with new episodes this month and shows 50% growth vs. last year and 25% growth vs. January among its core women 25-54 viewers. The program’s “winter finale” on February 15 included an announcement that co-lead investigator Grant Wilson will be departing the series. According to Syfy, “The highly-anticipated announcement also drew 2.2 million total viewers, making it the most-watched episode of GHOST HUNTERS in total viewers since 10/20/10.” His final appearances will be in April, with the spring season of the program. After that we will have to see if viewers return, even if the show’s cofounder does not.

FACE OFF follows at 10, representing the new Syfy. The show has taken off this year, increasing its adult audience by over one-third vs. 2011. The program has also been renewed and will be back in the summer.

Thursday nights continue to slide, with B-list movies failing to draw audiences. The best rated telecast this month, Star Trek: Insurrection, performed below the bottom-line primetime average.

Fridays are a rock with WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN consistently drawing top ratings.  MERLIN follows at 10 and has been able to capitalize on its sizable lead-in, growing men 18-49 ratings by 46% vs. last year.

After a brief slump, the weekend was revitalized with three well-received SYFY ORIGINAL MOVIES on Saturday nights: Fairy Tale Double Feature Movie, with Black Forest, starring Tinsel Korey (The Twilight Saga) and Ben Cross (Chariots of Fire), followed by Witchslayer Gretl, and Jules Verne's Mysterious Island.

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