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 resonates with audiences.
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 nearly 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.
FEBRUARY PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Plus Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / February 2013 vs. February 2012 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
February 2013: Syfy did not change its schedule too much from last month, which proved to be a successful strategy as audiences, particularly women, seemed to have found the programming. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights all posted significant ratings gains on women vs. last month. However, compared to last year, only Tuesday nights were able to increase viewing.
Mondays are home to the “Powerful Mondays” night of scripted programming, both original and acquired. Sandwiched between CONTINUUM and LOST GIRL, BEING HUMAN is clearly viewers’ favorite offering of the night, pulling the highest ratings each week among both men and women. It was also the only program of the night to grow on men and adults 18-49 vs. last month. LOST GIRL lost 38% of its male viewers while holding women. The good news for CONTINUUM is that it held last month’s levels. The bad news is that last month’s levels were well below average. As a whole, the line-up is falling about 10% short of last year’s adult 18-49 levels.
FACE OFF has turned Tuesdays around. Various reality shows and theatricals used to fill the night, without too much success, until FACE OFF came along. The hit competition show boosted Tuesday nights by 79% among women 18-49 versus last year and by 21% versus last month. This month it was the top rated show among women and second only to WWE among men, with encore telecasts factored in. TOTAL BLACKOUT follows at10PM. The gameshow sits at the bottom of the program rankers for households, but with the help of the FACE OFF lead-in, it draws strong young adult comps, and tops the primetime average for women and adults 18-49.
GHOST HUNTERS continues to fade in its long-standing spot on Wednesday nights, running for two hours each week. The program in its ninth season lost over 40% of its female viewers vs. last year. Once the top rated Syfy program among women, the show no longer tops the bottom line primetime average. A slew of reality programs have been rotated through Wednesday night in the 10PM slot following GHOST HUNTERS, in fact, that’s where FACE OFF was launched. GHOST MINE debuted at the end of January. It has been building audience, particularly among younger demos, and by the end of February it was topping its GHOST HUNTERS lead-in.
Thursday’s B-movies brought in the night as the lowest rated of the week, while Friday’s WWE made it the strongest. While WWE held its male audiences as compared to both last year and last month, MERLIN took a steep drop this month. Adult 18-49 ratings for the BBC fantasy program are down by 26% as compared to last month and by 18% compared to last year. Syfy decided to stop the bleeding, and put the show on a brief hiatus. It will return in May with the final five episodes of the series.
On weekends the Syfy Original Movies (End of the World and Heebie Jeebies) were particularly strong with men 25-54. GI Joe and Battelstar Galactica were the most successful acquired theatricals.
SYFY plans to continue rotating a high-volume of new series through the line-up, looking for the next new hit. DEFIANCE joins the Powerful Mondays line-up in April, while DEEP SOUTH PARANORMAL will be added to Wednesday nights. WAREHOUSE 13 makes an early debut this year, with season 4.5 starting up in the spring as well. William Shatner's WIERD OR WHAT launches Tuesday nights in April. SINBAD and PRIMEVAL are two new series that are in the works.