Sci Fi Channel Performance/Schedule Analysis - March 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of April 20, 2009)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

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

MARCH 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

GHOST HUNTERS, EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING, SCI FI ORIGINAL MOVIE, GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL, SCI FI MOVIE, MOONLIGH, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE, ESTATE OF PANIC, WGC ULTIMATE GAMER

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Mondays in March continued last month's trend of stacked episodes of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.

EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING remains a staple at 9pm on Tuesday nights.  In March, the lead -n was STAR TREK ENTERPRISE at 8pm.  The lead-out 10pm show varied, then starting on March 10th, settled with WCG ULTIMATE GAMER.

Wednesday nights remain all GHOST HUNTERS and GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL.

Thursdays transitioned from stacked episodes of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA to Movies, then to stacked episodes of STAR TREK ENTERPRISE.

Fridays have been a lineup of Sci Fi series.  (STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION, MOONLIGHT, and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.)  Big news of the month was the finale of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA on March 20th.

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

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

FEBRUARY - MARCH 2009:  

**Season 5 of GHOST HUNTERS premiered March 2009.

MARCH AND BEYOND:

PREMIERES:

**WAREHOUSE 13 is slated to debut July 7, 2009.
**GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL returns July 8, 2009, at 9pm.
**EUREKA returns July 10, 2009, at 9pm.
**GHOST HUNTERS returns August 19, 2009, at 9pm.

FINALES:

**The finale of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA aired March 20, 2009.

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE: Live Primetime Ratings Comparison:
March 2008 vs. March 2009  (% Change)

H'hold    M25-54    F25-54    P25-54
Monday 8-11pm            -13%       -9%         -20%       -13%
Tuesday 8-11pm              0%       17%        -38%       -10%
Wednesday 8-11pm         6%       16%           5%        10%
Thursday 8-11pm          -40%      -42%       -50%        -50%
Friday 8-11pm                18%        25%         0%         17%
Saturday 8-11pm            11%          0%        27%        11%
Sunday 8-11pm                8%          8%         9%           8%
MTWTFSS 8-11pm          0%         0%          -9%          0%
*The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample March was a relatively flat month for Sci Fi network.  Wednesday nights continues to climb with new episodes of GHOST HUNTERS, and Friday nights saw a clear boost with the finale of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.  Movie nights' numbers are also riding the wave of increased viewers and both Saturdays and Sundays saw a nice boost from 2008.

Still, 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!

MARCH 2009 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Solid increases nearly every night of the week make it clear that the soon-to-be-renamed network is making some gains in attracting new viewers.

Overall numbers were up 9% from February and all nights, save for Tuesdays and Thursday, saw increases from a month ago.

Monday nights' stacked lineup of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION saw a nice boost from a month ago, attracting 17% more viewers and more men as well.

Tuesday nights are still a struggle.  EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING at 9pm continues to dominate the Tuesday night lineup, but the lead-out 10pm expermiment continues to struggle.  This month, WCG ULTIMATE GAMER took over in that spot, but couldn't hold on to the same eyeballs and numbers dropped sharply from ECW.

Wednesday night's GHOST HUNTERS and GHOST HUNTERS INTERATIONAL lineup continues to attract eyeballs, especially women.  The night comes in as second strongest overal.

Fridays saw big increases - 18% in overall share - from a month ago and the night was the strongest of the week, thanks to the finale episodes of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.  (See below for ratings info from Sci Fi Press.)

Saturdays and Sundays rode the wave of viewers and numbers for the MOVIES were up on both nights in the month of March across all key demographics.


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 watched 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 early 2009.

The final episode of STARGATE ATLANTIS aired in January 2009.

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

INVASION, MOONLIGHT, SCARE TACTICS

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