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 schedule is well-rounded – unlike other nets, Syfy does not rely too heavily upon a single program to boost the numbers.

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 all 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 helps keep viewers in the habit of tuning to Syfy.

JULY PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

M18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

 -28%

    -34%

   -26%

Tuesday 8-11pm

  27%

    14%

    24%

Wednesday 8-11pm

  -2%

   -33%

    -7%

Thursday 8-11pm

 16%

     7%

    29%

Friday 8-11pm

 -4%

    10%

     4%

Saturday 8-11pm

-10%

   -15%

    -4%

Sunday 8-11pm

  -20%

    -15%

     -9%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

  -7%

    -10%

    -2%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

JULY 2012: This was a roller-coaster month for Syfy, with big ups and downs in the ratings through-out the course of the week. Each night of the week seems to have its own programming strategy, resulting in wide swings in the ratings. With the exceptions of Tuesday and Thursday, if ratings were up vs. month ago, they were down vs. year ago, and vice versa.

When all of July’s nightly changes are averaged out, total primetime household and demo ratings are up by about 10% vs. last month. Compared to last year household and men ratings are down by nearly 10%, but women gained, resulting in a flat performance for adult demos.

“Powerful Mondays” saw the fourth season premiere of WAREHOUSE 13, the program that kicked off the Syfy brand four years ago. However, the program launched later in the month than usual, not appearing until July 23rd and only putting in one episode this month. So even though the program was the best-rated on the line-up after wresting, and it performed 13% better on adults 18-49 than it did last year, there was only one episode this year vs. four last year, which pulled down the year over year ratings for the night.  The same story holds for the season two return of ALPHAS.

Of note, Mondays have been host to high-profile female skewing programs of late. When WAREHOUSE 13 and ALPHAS returned this year, their female viewing was considerably higher. In the upcoming months it will be interesting to see if women stay tuned, or if the programs return to their usual male/female skew.

Most of Tuesday’s line-up (FACT OR FAKED, HOLLYWOOD TREASURE, HAUNTED HIGHWAY and DESTINATION TRUTH) rests at or near the bottom of the program rankers. However, this month an extra SUPERSMACKDOWN LIVE aired on a Tuesday night, pushing the percent changes up in both year ago and month ago comparisons. The nightly average still underdelivers prime, but it shows how much potential sits on Tuesday night’s line-up.

Wednesdays are without a GHOST HUNTERS or a GHOST HUNTERS spin-off this month – the first time this has happened in…forever??  HAUNTED COLLECTOR and SCHOOL SPIRITS filled the space, and while both programs improved their previous performances, Wednesdays are underdelivering the network average. The annual July 4th TWILIGHT ZONE marathon aired again this year, falling on a Wednesday. Ratings for the cult-favorite were down, most notably -47% among men 18-49. Syfy’s programmers took the fading GHOST HUNTERS off the air for a bit, but it would be hard to imagine a July 4th without a solid dose of TWILIGHT ZONE.

Thursday’s movie line-up overperformed vs. last month and last year, but retained its spot as one of the lower-rated nights of the week. The best performing Thursday night movie was The Fifth Element, which handily beat out venerable titles such as Narnia, Casino Royale and Silence of the Lambs.

WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN continues to dominate Syfy, earning the top rated program and the five top telecasts of the month. With WWE at the helm, Friday is far and away the best-rated night of the week, surpassing the next nearest night by over 40% on households and adults.

Saturday and Sunday movies grew on male demos vs. last month, but continued the recent slide they have been taking vs. last year’s numbers.

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