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. The schedule is well-rounded – unlike other nets, Syfy does not rely too heavily upon a single program to boost the numbers. Syfy has the resources to use the volume approach to finding the next new hit, pushing a lot of programming through the line-up to see what sticks.

Most nights have seen dramatic change in the past year, but the schedule has begun to settle down. There is still room on the schedule for more original programming, particularly Thursday and Sunday nights.

Mondays are now a marquee night, with original series headlining in all seasons. Tuesdays were the night under construction for the past year, and the night seems to have found its footing with paranormal and competition programming. 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.

OCTOBER PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

M18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

 -5%

    -13%

   -13%

Tuesday 8-11pm

  24%

     54%

    85%

Wednesday 8-11pm

  -4%

    -27%

     2%

Thursday 8-11pm

  18%

     3%

    29%

Friday 8-11pm

  -4%

    -13%

    -4%

Saturday 8-11pm

 -21%

    -29%

   -20%

Sunday 8-11pm

 -25%

    -34%

   -26%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

  -5%

    -13%

    -2%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

OCTOBER 2012: SYFY lost some ground vs. both last month and last year this October. While many of the network’s franchises are holding or growing, an equal number seem to be on the decline, yielding overall losses on the bottom line.

The poorly named Powerful Mondays dropped again – down between 13% and 27% on demo vs. last year and down about 25% vs. last month. WAREHOUSE 13’s mid-season finale aired on October 1, drawing nice demo gains vs. last year and last month. ALPHAS also drew double-digit audience gains with its two-part season finale. The difference was the filler programming after WAREHOUSE and ALPHAS finished out their seasons – last year blocks of SCARE TACTICS filled the space while this year lower rated movies pulled down the nightly average.

FACE OFF is solid on Tuesday nights, growing another 20% or more vs. last month. The program is the leader for younger women, bringing new viewers to the network. It ranks seventh on households, but first on women 18-49 ratings. New lead-out program HOT SET started strong last month, but dropped about 20% of its demo audience this month, and settled down at the levels of the program it replaced, COLLECTION INTERVENTION.

Wednesdays were back to GHOST HUNTERS last month, and the female-skewing franchise is still strong, but aging. Younger female ratings declined 15% as older women grew by 11% vs. last year’s numbers. PARANORMAL WITNESS follows at 10PM, feeding off GHOST HUNTERS female audience. It is holding vs. last month, but down 10% on women 25-54 vs. last year.

Thursday nights are still loaded with B movies, which usually pull the lowest numbers of the week. Sunday night’s movies failed to pop this month as well, and Sunday actually had lower ratings than Thursday this month.

Fridays remain the best-rated night of the week for households, men and adults, by a wide margin. Wrestling continues to bring in big audiences from 8 to 10, even with the 10% drop it took on men vs. last year. HAVEN follows, enjoying the big lead-in, but down vs. last year by one-third on the 18-49 demos and 10% on the 25-54 demos. Syfy claims it is “the #1 cable program among Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54 in its Friday 10-11PM (ET/PT) time period (based on Live +7 data),” and that it will return for a fourth season of 13 new episodes in 2013.

In fact, Syfy has made a number of programming announcements this month. In addition to having the deepest slate of upfront programming in development, the net has announced that it has acquired: PRIMEVAL: NEW WORLD, a 13-episode spin-off series; CONTINUUM and SINBAD two scripted series; OPPOSITE WORLDS, a 12-episode Chilean reality series to air twice a week; Japanese gameshow EXIT, and also new competition series VIRAL VIDEO SHOWDOWN.

SYFY’s strategy is to rotate a parade of programming through the line-up, hoping to find a franchise that will resonate with audiences and hopefully, become another FACE OFF.

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