Sci Fi Channel Performance/Schedule Analysis - February 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of March 17, 2009)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

Adults 25-54 (Sci Fi's "Alternative Programming" skews younger - Adults 18-49.)

FEBRUARY 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING, GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL, SCI FI ORIGINAL MOVIE, GHOST HUNTERS, SCI FI MOVIE, MOONLIGHT, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, SCARE TACTICS

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Monday nights saw a shift from stacked episodes of LOST to stacked episodes of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.

EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING remains a staple at 9pm on Tuesday nights.  In February, LOST took over for STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION to serve as its lead-in.  STAR TREK ENTERPRISE took the lead-out 10pm spot.

Wednesday nights in February were all about GHOST HUNTERS and GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL.

Thursdays remain a SCI FI MOVIE night (save for a marathon of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA on February 19.)

Fridays are a lineup of Sci Fi series - this month, it was INVASION and MOONLIGHT and BATTLESTAR GALATICA (though STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION made another appearence, taking over for INVASION in the 8pm slot midway through the month.

Saturday's and Sunday's primetime lineups feature a variety of Sci Fi Channel MOVIES and ORIGINAL MOVIES.

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2009:  

**STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION took over for LOST on Monday nights.
**LOST replaces STAR TREK as lead in to ECW on Tuesdays.
**STAR TREK ENTERPRISE replaces double episodes of SCARE TACTICS as ECW lead-out on Tuesdays.
**GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL debuted January 7, 2009

FEBRUARY AND BEYOND:

PREMIERES:

**Season 5 of GHOST HUNTERS will premiere in March 2009.
**WAREHOUSE 13 is slated to debut July 7, 2009.
**EUREKA returns this summer.

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison:
February 2009 vs. February 2008  (% Change)

H'hold    M25-54    F25-54    P25-54
Monday 8-11pm            -37%    -35%      -36%         -35%
Tuesday 8-11pm           -13%       2%        -36%        -15%
Wednesday 8-11pm      16%       21%       25%          22%
Thursday 8-11pm         -21%      -11%      -38%         -24%
Friday 8-11pm               -2%        -4%        24%          5%
Saturday 8-11pm         13%       -2%         -4%           -3%
Sunday 8-11pm           10%      -12%        25%           4%
MTWTFSS 8-11pm       -1%      -6%          0%          -2%
*The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Down a modest 1% overall, but flat across all key demos, February appears to be a slow month for the soon-to-be-rebranded network.  Wednesdays saw gains for year ago numbers and weekend movies saw a nice boost from last year, but all other nights of the week struggled to find their footing.

Sci Fi is in clear need of some new series and, in the midst of a rebrand, will undoubtedly have to tread quite carefully over the next few months.  Fans are already speaking out against the new name, and are fearful that Sci Fi channel will quickly abandon its Science Fiction roots in favor of more mainstream programming.  Stay tuned closely to CableU over the next several months because we'll be reporting on the lastest buzz and ratings throughout the transition!

FEBRUARY 2009 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS: February's weekly numbers make it very clear - Sci Fi has some strong successes, but could use some work.  And new series.  Monday through Friday saw a decline in numbers nearly across the board.  Weekends were up in February, however.

Looking overall at Sci Fi channel's monthly ratings, it's clear that Sci Fi has some clear winners.  Wednesday night's GHOST HUNTERS and GHOST HUNTERS INTERATIONAL lineup continues to attract eyeballs, especially women.  The night comes in as second strongest overall.

Weekends in February also score well above average.  Some ORIGINAL MOVIE titles (Splinter, Lake Placid 2) brought in big numbers on Saturday and Sunday nights.

But the rest of the week remains somewhat of a struggle for the network.  With LOST off the schedule for Mondays, STAR TREK ENTERPRISE isn't bringing in eyes either.  Tuesdays clearly still remain a struggle, as ECW continues to dominate ratings in the 10pm slot.

WIth BATTLESTAR GALACTICA coming to a close on March 20, 2009, the Friday night lineup will be up for grabs.  Will Syfy's newer series move away from the traditional takes-place-in-space series?  Will Sci Fi fans be left in the cold, wondering, What the frack? Or, will the rebrand be the beginning of a new growth and regenerated interest in the genre?


ADDITIONAL RATINGS INFORMATION:
According to network press, "Fast national ratings of Sci Fi Channel's finale of Battlestar Galactica finds the two hour season closer drew in 2.4 million viewers, 1.5 million in the coveted A18-49 demo, making it the most watch episode of the series in over three years. These numbers mark a 56% increase over last season's finale in total viewers, and up 37% in the demo." (Cynopsis, 3/23/09)PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS: The Sci Fi Channel aquired two direct-to-DVD STARGATE Movies: Ark of Truth and Continuum

PROGRAM RENEWALS: SANCTUARY has started production for a second season.  13 episodes ordered.

DESTINATION TRUTH has been renewed for a third season, set to debut in Fall 2009.

SCI Fl announced an expansion of both the hit paranormal franchise as well as the Channel's partnership with Craig Piligian's Pilgrim Films and Television.  The multi-part deal includes a sixth season of GHOST HUNTERS, a second season of GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL and a six-episode order of the recently announced pilot GHOST HUNTERS: NEW GENERATION [working title].  In addition, Pilgrim will develop an entirely new series for the Channel with an eye toward a 2010 premiere.


PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

The final season of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA will consist of 10 episodes, followed by a 2 hour movie, which will begin airing in in early 2009.

The final episode of STARGATE ATLANTIS aired in January 2009.

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

INVASION, MOONLIGHT, SCARE TACTICS

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