Syfy Channel Analysis - July 2011

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JULY 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

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. Most nights have seen dramatic change in recent months, with weekend movies remaining the only constant, particularly the SYFY ORIGINAL MOVIES premiering every-other Saturday at 9PM.

Mondays have shifted from low-rated GHOST WHISPERER, STAR TREK and SCARE TACTICS to original series. Mondays are being set up to be a marquee night this summer , with EUREKA, WAREHOUSE 13 and ALHAS headlining the night. Tuesday underperformed with alternate reality and is back to movies for now. On Wednesdays the once powerful GHOST HUNTERS franchise is fading and newer reality programs are moving in. Thursdays went from reality programming to movies, to acquired series to STAR TREK: NEXT GENERATION, and back to movies this month. 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.

JULY PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

M25-54

F25-54

Monday 8-11pm

52%

58%

15%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-35%

-27%

-40%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-16%

-20%

-36%

Thursday 8-11pm

-4%

6%

-40%

Friday 8-11pm

37%

49%

-4%

Saturday 8-11pm

5%

12%

-21%

Sunday 8-11pm

35%

45%

27%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

9%

17%

-14%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

JULY 2011: SYFY's numbers moved in the right direction again this month, producing some of the best ratings of 2011. However, both adult 18-49 and adult 25-54 ratings were identical to last year, Men gained nearly 20%, while women dropped 15%, wiping out any adult increases. The result was a bottom-line male/female skew of 60/40. Last summer Syfy was yielding an even male/female split. The network went from one extreme to another, July 2010 was the most female skewing month since the 2009 rebrand while July 2011 was the most male skewing.

The biggest contributors to this male/female shift were the addition of wrestling to Friday night and the decline of female skewing GHOST HUNTERS. But it goes beyond these two headliners. After playing with female-skewing reality series (MARCEL) and acquisitions (GHOST WHISPERER), the network seems to have made a decision to stick with men, particularly younger men. Each of this month's original series (HAVEN, WAREHOUSE 13, EUREKA, ALPHAS, LEGEND QUEST, HAUNTED COLLECTOR, HOLLYWOOD TREASURE) holds a male skew, with the exception of GHOST HUNTERS AND GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL.

Shifts in strategy were in evidence nearly every night this month. Mondays are now home to Syfy's marquee programming. Formerly home to low-rated syndicated fare, Mondays feature top-billed programming EUREKA, WAREHOUSE 13 and new program ALPHAS, Each of the programs seems to be thriving in the new night, with the pilot of ALPHAS producing the best rated program telecast of the month, WAREHOUSE 13 improving program average by over 20% from last year, and EUREKA pulling in much improved 18-49 (+29%) and 25-54 (+10%) ratings. However, after announcing EUREKA would be renewed for a fifth and sixth season, the show was officially cancelled after its fifth season. EUREKA is pulling male numbers on par with showcase (and renewed) program WAREHOUSE 13.

Not so long ago Wednesdays ruled Syfy's ratings with GHOST HUNTERS bringing in women, and helping to define the paranormal genre. This year GHOST HUNTERS wasn't even on the air every week, and when it was it was in repeats. HAUNTED COLLECTOR, HOLLYWOOD TREASURE and LEGEND QUEST dominate Wednesday nights and helped bring the night down by 20% among men and 30% among women. Each of the Wednesday night programs sits at the bottom of the program rankers.

Tuesdays and Thursdays were movie nights this month, and they also dropped ratings from last year.

FRIDAY NIGHT WRESTLING remains a highlight of the week, dominating the ratings with each telecast. Syfy has been following the high-rated franchise with male-skewing originals. This month HAVEN was the lucky recipient of the sizable lead-in.

Weekend movies, particularly originals, have been solid performers in an otherwise volatile schedule, both with their steady ratings and consistent scheduling. This month Syfy borrowed a couple of titles from sister network USA, and found success with Indiana Jones and National Treasure. The top-rated original this month was Super Eruption. Overall, movies gained men but lost women vs. year ago and month ago.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

Two years after its rebranding, Syfy continues to evolve its programming and its audiences. It has explored new genres and retooled nearly every night of the week in an attempt to keep its core sci-fi fans while cultivating and defining the new syfy viewer. The quest has met with some success and a lot of failures, but the quest goes on. The network is planning over 100 hours of original programming for the 2011/12 season. New series run the gamut, spanning genres and formats - dramas, reality, paranormal, competition, and even celebrities.

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