Syfy Analysis - November 2011

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Mondays have shifted from low-rated GHOST WHISPERER and STAR TREK to original series. Mondays are now a marquee night, with EUREKA, WAREHOUSE 13 and ALPHAS headlining the night this summer and SCARE TACTICS controlling the night this fall. Tuesday underperformed with alternate reality and is back to movies for now. On Wednesdays the once powerful GHOST HUNTERS franchise is fading and newer paranormal programs are moving in. Thursdays went from reality programming to an unpredictable mix of movies, acquired series and STAR TREK: NEXT GENERATION. WWE SMACKDOWN has revitalized Friday nights, bringing a lot of new male viewers to the net and a solid male lead-in for original series at 10PM.

NOVEMBER PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / November 2011 vs. November 2010  (% Change)

HH

M18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

20%

 14%

 22%

Tuesday 8-11pm

 42%

 25%

 35%

Wednesday 8-11pm

 1%

 0%

-4%

Thursday 8-11pm

17%

 15%

 14%

Friday 8-11pm

 7%

 13%

 3%

Saturday 8-11pm

 -5%

 12%

 -6%

Sunday 8-11pm

 13%

  -7%

  8%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

 9%

  11%

 5%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

NOVEMBER 2011:  Syfy is already claiming 2011 as its best rated year ever, with record numbers of total viewers and male viewers. They claim year over year growth among younger viewers; +14% in Adults18-34 (219,000), +21% in Men 18-34 (126,000) and +7% in Women 18-34 (93,000). Smaller growth is seen among core demos Adults 18-49 (+5%)_and 25-54 (+1%). As much as Syfy touts its growth among the 18-34 set, the fact remains that their biggest ratings come with the 25-54 audiences.

Taking a look at November, we see ratings vs. last month down just slightly among men and off by about 10% for women. And while we see solid growth vs. last year (above chart), last November was an underperforming month.
So despite the headlines of its PR releases, it’s baby steps for Syfy as it strives to leap forward to ratings success. Still, the net deserves credit; it has worked hard this year at establishing its brand and a line-up of successful programs.
And Monday night illustrates how hard Syfy has been working. Now home to original series for most of the year, the night has flourished. This month Monday nights featured 14 telecasts of SCARE TACTICS (where friends scare their friends and loved ones in a hidden camera prank show hosted by Tracy Morgan). The show dropped about 25% - 30% of demo audience from last year and 30 - 35% from last month and came in at the bottom of the Syfy ratings heap. And yet, Monday nights basically held vs. last month and grew by double digits vs. last year. saved with the special live Halloween edition of GHOST HUNTERS.
Tuesdays saw tremendous growth, particularly among women due to a successful mix of big name movies (Narnia, Troy) and bonus runs of GRIMM.
Wednesdays are a night in transition as former powerhouse GHOST HUNTERS tries to hold on to its audience. Wednesday is tied with Friday for the best delivery among women 25-54, but ratings for the iconic program continue to slip; down 19% vs. last year and 14% vs. last month. On the other hand, FACT OR FAKED: PARANORMAL FILES, the newer paranormal program is up an overwhelming 140% on that core woman viewer vs. last year. FACT OR FAKED is now Syfy’s number two ranked show on women 25-54, behind WWE.
Thursday night is still in need of some programming. Now running movies, it is the lowest rated night of the week.
Friday reins supreme with WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN pulling in the strongest ratings and providing an excellent lead-in to Syfy originals (this month was SANCTUARY).
Weekends have slipped recently, but the SYFY ORIGINAL MOVIES can still pop those numbers, as we saw this month with Storm War and Rage of the Yeti. Sunday was an underperformer, with poor demo comps and an older audience brought in by the B-Movie fare such as Red Planet, Primeval and American Werewolf.

With all the struggles, Syfy has been winning more than it is losing, and is slowly moving the needle in the right direction. Its momentum should pick up again in January when it brings back a slew of well-received original series and a few new promising ones as well.

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