Syfy Channel Analysis - October 2011



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 the past year, 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 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.


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




Monday 8-11pm




Tuesday 8-11pm




Wednesday 8-11pm




Thursday 8-11pm




Friday 8-11pm




Saturday 8-11pm




Sunday 8-11pm




MTWTFSS 8-11pm




Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

OCTOBER 2011:  Syfy’s audience made small moves in the right direction with younger audiences this month, netting out with 3% growth on adults 18-49. In fact, the 18-49 audience ratings were the highest and the audience’s median age was the youngest Syfy has attained since December 2009.

Most of the line-up was working for Syfy this month. The top of the ratings charts is still dominated by WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN, which grew even more audience vs. both last year and last month. That franchise helped HAVEN to a healthy finale (and a renewal order). SANCTUARY was the next program to benefit from the WWE lead-in.

The SYFY original moves were also strong this month. After a few off-months, ratings went back up in October, with Zombie Apocalypse becoming the most watched Saturday original of the year. Ratings were no doubt assisted by Syfy’s Halloween themed promotions (31 Days of Halloween) and the current zombie trend. (note to self: vampires out, zombies in).

Wednesdays are still paranormal night on Syfy. GHOST HUNTERS, the grand dame of paranormal fare (and older female audiences) continues to slip. This month it is down 8% on adults 18-49 and down 29% on adults 25-54 vs. last year. The newer, more male-skewing paranormal programming at 10PM (FACT OR FAKED: PARANORMAL FILES and PARANORMAL WITNESS) both topped GHOST HUNTERS on adult ratings, if not household ratings. While Syfy seemed content to explore and nurture its feminine side last year, it is more focused on younger male audiences this year. GHOST HUNTERS is one of the few programming franchises left over from The Sci Fi Channel.