Syfy programs its line-up differently every night of the week, with no strips or similar fare to carry viewers across the week. The target audience also changes with different nights of the week, with women being the focus on Mondays and Wednesdays. Most nights have seen dramatic change in the past year, but the schedule has begun to settle down.There is still a lot of room on the schedule for more original programming; there's just the matter of identifying exactly which audience the net wants to target.
Mondays are now a marquee night, with original series headlining in the summer, spring and winter seasons. Tuesday and Thursday underperformed with alternate reality and are back to movies or a mix of acquired series and various encores for now. On Wednesdays the once powerful GHOST HUNTERS franchise is fading and newer reality programs are moving in. WWE SMACKDOWN continues to revitalize Friday nights, bringing a lot of male viewers to the net and a solid male lead-in for original series at 10PM.
In addition to acquiring ready-made series, Syfy has been giving its own series quick renewal orders and short production cycles, allowing popular programs to make a quick return to the schedule. This gives the net the advantage of not forcing audiences to wait a year, and not giving them time to forget the programs they loved, or to get out of the habit of tuning to Syfy on certain nights.
APRIL PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Plus Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / April 2012 vs. April 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Despite some serious hiccups, Syfy pulled out a strong April. Bottom line household ratings dropped by just one percent vs. last year, while demo ratings grew by about 10%. Most networks saw bottom-line ratings fall vs. March, but Syfy’s adult 25-54 audience grew by 10% vs. the previous month. A seemingly continuous influx of new programs has kept Syfy’s line-up fresh, and keeps viewers tuning in.
WWE still dominates Syfy’s ratings, but there are a lot of other programs at play, particularly on Monday nights. “Powerful Mondays” were busy this month with the second season finale of BEING HUMAN, the second season premiere of LOST GIRL and the fifth and final season premiere of EUREKA. Mondays’ adult 25-54 audience grew by 27% vs. last year. The premiere episode of each program performs well for the net, and all three of them, along with Friday’s MERLIN, get the biggest lift from same day time shifted viewing. Monday nights get the most time shifted viewing on Syfy. The tricky part is scheduling the encores / repeats.
Tuesdays are still a night under construction, as movies and alternate reality programs failed to work here. This month some progress has been made in building up the night. Another wrestling special spiked the numbers again, but this time it helped launch DREAM MACHINES, Syfy’s new reality series about the conception and build of high end concept cars, or as The NY Post called it, “PIMP MY RIDE for sci-fi geeks.” So far the tech-heavy show has a strong male skew and is keeping pace with lead-in program FACT OR FAKED: PARANOMRAL FILES.
On Wednesdays GHOST HUNTERS and GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL set the pace, enjoying nice bumps from last month, but losing considerable chunks of audience vs. last year. The slot to watch on Wednesday nights is 10PM where Syfy puts forth an ever-changing, always original mix of alternate reality programming.
MONSTER MAN, another workplace reality program centering on special effects took over the 10PM slot from FACE OFF, but was off to a very slow start. By the end of the month it was replaced with much-improved ratings from TOTAL BLACKOUT, a game show in which contestants compete in complete darkness.
Thursdays are still filled with acquired theatricals from the vast NBC Universal library. Even with big titles like X Men, Matrix and Aliens, the Syfy audience doesn’t seem interested and Thursdays remain the lowest-rated night of the week.
On Friday nights WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN continues to dominate the programming leader board, but this is the first month where we have seen a year over year decline. The highly-desirable lead-out 10PM slot saw the high-rated finale of acquired series MERLIN, and then a parade of alternate reality shows encoring in the slot. TOTAL BLACKOUT pulled the best numbers, followed by DREAM MACHINES and then MONSTER MAN.
Movies fared better on the weekends than they did on Thursday, with original movies headlining. Again, we see the Syfy phenomenon of original movies outperforming classics. You know your audience is unique when your own productions Alien Tornado, Space Twister, and Seattle Superstorm handily outpace any of the Indiana Jones movies and War of the Worlds.