FX Performance/Schedule Analysis - December 2008

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of January 24, 2009)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

Adults 18-34 & Adults 18-49

DECEMBER 2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

SONS OF ANARCHY, THE SHIELD, IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

When movies represent nearly 100% of the primetime fare, biggest titles run on Thursdays and Sundays. When originals are on the air bigger movie titles are usually scheduled as lead-ins.

FX was never a network to run multiple encores of its series, a la BRAVO, and it has even given up on running encores on Sunday nights, so each program now gets just one primetime run.

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

NOVEMBER - DECEMBER:

In December FX was between original series, leaving just movies on the air. Not even a THAT "70s SHOW appeared in primetime - it was all movies all the time.

NOVEMBER:
PREMIERES:
** NONE

FINALES:
** NONE

JANUARY AND BEYOND:
PREMIERES:
**January 6 @ 10PM: NIP/TUCK (5TH Season)
**January 7 @ 10: DAMAGES (13 eps, 2ND Season)
** March '09: RESCUE ME (13 eps, 5TH Season)

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

FX's bottom line is about even with last year. Household ratings are off just -2%, men 18-49 are down -11%, and that is balanced with an +8% increase in women 18-49 ratings.

The only real programming difference between this year and last is that last year NIP / TUCK was running on Tuesday nights. This year the line-up is all movies.

There does seem to be more of a family-focus on FX this year. Last December they had a lot of robot movies. This year family-friendly fare Home Alone, Ice Age and Christmas With the Kranks pulled in top ratings. Some of these titles were on the air last year as well, but they did better this year. Of course, FX has programmed a lot more movies this year than last, as original series were post-poned or shortened due to the writer's strike.  Viewers have learned to turn to FX for movies without an edgy original series as an anchor.

DECEMBER 2008 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Without any high-profile original series running this month, bottom-line audiences are not that different than last month's. Households and women 18-49 are actually up (+6% and +17% respectively) and men 18-49 ratings are down -8%. While it seemed like FX was running originals all of November, there were actually only fourteen hours of original programming, or 15% of the schedule.

This month FX is wall-to-wall movies, and not so surprisingly, there is very little fluctuation in the night-to-night numbers. There is only a .1 HH rating difference between the lowest rated night of the week (Monday) and the highest rated night of the week (Tuesday).

Tuesday and Wednesday nights, the nights with THE SHIELD and SONS OF ANARCHY last month did see big declines; -30% for men 18-49 on both nights and -33% for women 18-49 on Wednesdays.

In November Thursday night was IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA and TESTEES, two dark, male-oriented comedies. In December, when they were replaced by movies, women 18-49 ratings climbed by +30%. Male ratings edged up +8%.

Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays also spiked for women and Saturday spiked for men. And so, the bottom-line is fine. The audience is even 10% younger this month, probably a result of family-oriented holiday fare such as Home Alone and Ice Age.


ACQUISITIONS:

Acquisitions are all about movie packages on FX. In 2008 the net got more aggressive about purchasing big packages, many of them done as pre-buys. For the most part, the movies are adult, edgy titles or comic-book fare (Spiderman, Hulk, Fantastic Four).

It was announced in October that FX purchased the cable rights to three 20th Century Fox movies: Max Payne, The X-Files: I Want to Believe and The Rocker. FX paid an estimated $8 million for a four-year term that begins in late 2010/early 2011.

FX is very much a part of the 2008 theatrical pre-buy frenzy, snapping up aggressive packages from various studios. Chuck Saftler, FX EVP said in Variety it is part of their strategy to go after "every quadrant" of the 18-49 demo.

In June it was announced FX will pay approximately $11 million for the exclusive cable network-window rights to air the Sony film You Don't Mess With the Zohan starring Adam Sandler. FX's window opens in 2010 following the exclusive pay-TV run on Starz.

On March 25 a $115 million+ Universal deal was announced. The deal comprises most of the titles on Universal's 2008 slate; about 15 titles, many of which are prebuys. Titles include The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Wanted, Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Leatherheads. Other titles in the FX package include Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Deathrace, Baby Mama, The Express, Changeling and The Strangers, Jarhead, Definitely Maybe, Doomsday (Rogue Pictures), Eastern Promises and In Bruges (Focus Features). The FX window kicks in about 28-30 months after the theatrical release, with the first of the bunch available summer 2010.

The Sony Columbia Pictures package also includes prebuys to five unreleased titles, which are Vantage Point starring Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox, The Pineapple Express starring Seth Rogan, Step Brothers starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, 21 starring Kevin Spacey and The International starring Clive Owen. According to Variety, the deal also includes these three other released films: Walk Hard, Untraceable and We Own the Night. FX is scheduled to air the featured films within about 28 months of their debut in theaters and pay-per-view channels.

Marvel has struck a deal with FX for the TV rights to Iron Man, Incredible Hulk and three others in another pre-buy arrangement.

FX paid $55 million for the exclusive network-window rights to five theatrical movies from 20th Century Fox:  The Simpsons Movie, Live Free or Die Hard, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Death Sentence and Hitman. The movies become available to FX in fourth quarter 2009, after their pay TV runs on HBO. The movies are all consistent with FX's male-oriented programming strategy.

Other deals completed recently include Columbia's Spider-Man 3, Superbad and Ghost Rider and Disney's Wild Hogs.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

SONS OF ANARCHY (Drama) Original series
Renewed for a full 13-episode second season.

DAMAGES (Drama) Original series
Picked up for two more 13-episode seasons.

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (Comedy) Original series
39 additional episodes ordered, to air through 2011.

NIP/TUCK (Drama) Original series
22 episodes in production, 14 more have been ordered, for a total of 100 episodes. Its last season will be in 2011.

RESCUE ME (Drama) Original series
A 22 episode fifth season has been ordered.

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

THIRTY DAYS, the network's only reality show, was cancelled after three seasons

THE RICHES will not return for another season, with disappointing ratings cited as the culprit.

DIRT has not been picked up for the second half of its second season. (Just 7 of the 13 ordered episodes were produced, due to problems encountered from the Writers' Strike. Those 7 episodes performed well below the first season.)

THE SHIELD's last season premiered on Tuesday, September 2.

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

None.

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