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. The target audience also changes with different nights of the week, with women being the focus on Mondays and Wednesdays and men or adults carrying the rest of the week. 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.

Mondays are now a marquee night, with original series headlining in the summer, spring and winter seasons. Tuesdays are the night under construction, and feature a rotating mix of alternate reality. 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, or to get out of the habit of tuning to Syfy.

MAY PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Plus Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / May 2012 vs. May 2011  (% Change)

HH

M18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

 42%

    6%

   28%

Tuesday 8-11pm

  0%

   30%

   15%

Wednesday 8-11pm

  21%

   23%

   23%

Thursday 8-11pm

   8%

   -9%

    -4%

Friday 8-11pm

   2%

   17%

    4%

Saturday 8-11pm

  -4%

   -29%

   -9%

Sunday 8-11pm

  -7%

   -26%

   -12%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

  8%

    3%

    8%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

MAY 2012: The Syfy line-up is growing audience straight through from Monday to Friday as original and acquired programming is effectively placed through the schedule.  In fact, the only yearly losses are coming on movie nights. SYFY continued to post year-over-year growth this May; women led the charge with 25% growth as men held steady, resulting in 10% better ratings for adults.  Women now comprise 45% of the primetime adult audience.

Mondays are a big contributor to that 25% growth on women. The scripted dramas EUREKA and LOST GIRL boosted Mondays to 113% growth on women 18-49 vs. last year. There is no doubt that Mondays are Syfy’s most-improved night, coming a long way from the days of STAR TREK and GHOST WHISPERER reruns. However, Mondays are not as strong as it would seem – its ratings hover near the primetime average. Demo ratings are off by double digits vs. last month. And this is EUREKA’s last stand, as it heads into the series finale on July 16. LOST GIRL is an acquired program, originally airing in Canada, and is slated to move to Fridays once EUREKA ends.

Tuesday nights are hit and miss with a rotating blend of docu-reality programming. FACT OR FAKED: PARANORMAL FILES dominates the night from 8 to 10. The program has slightly improved ratings over last year, but is down nearly 20% vs. last month. With encores factored in to its total performance, it is one of the lowest rated programs on the Syfy line-up. Still, its premiere telecast is strong, and the program helped lead Tuesdays to solid growth over last year. DREAM MACHINES ended its run this month, growing ratings with each successive telecast, particularly among men. HOLLYWOOD TREASURE took over at the end of the month with average ratings. The night is one of the lower rated of the week, but it is climbing.

On Wednesdays GHOST HUNTER is back, and bigger than it has been in some time. Core women 25-54 ratings are up by 46% vs. last year and by 15% vs. last month. Audiences are tuning in to see co-lead investigator Grant Wilson’s last season before he retires. His final hunt on May 16th earned top ratings across the board on all non-wrestling programming, and topped WWE among women. The program is renewed for another season next year, without Grant Wilson. Whether audiences will still be interested remains to be seen. Lead-out program, new game show TOTAL BLACKOUT is doing well in the 10PM slot. It usually managed to build on the GHOST HUNTER audience. The 10:30 encore didn’t hold, and the marathon on 5/23 was lackluster in the ratings department. Apparently fans like BLACKOUT in small doses.

Thursday’s movies earned the night the lowest ratings across the board, hands down. The B-list movies did drive women 18-49 ratings up by 80% vs. last year’s STAR TREK: NEXT GENERATION blocks, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Friday’s WWE took a rare (and slight) misstep last month, but is back up this month, leading the pack and pulling up the bottom-line with it. Encores of DREAM MACHINE got the coveted 10PM slot, earning better ratings here than on premiere night performances on Tuesdays.

Weekend movies were Syfy’s Achille’s heel this May, underperforming both last year and last month.  Saturday and Sunday were the only nights to show double digit declines on adults vs. last year.

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