SyFy Channel Performance/Schedule Analysis - July 2009

Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of August 20, 2009)

CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMMING ECW (SPORTING)
Extreme Championship Wrestling features pro wrestlers in action.
Status: On air. Produced by: Extreme Championship Wrestling

EUREKA (DRAMA)
A newly hired sheriff reports for duty in the small, bucolic Pacific North-west town of Eureka and soon discovers that things are not what they seem.
Status: Season 3.5 premieres July 10. Finale September 18. 10x60. Produced by: Universal Media Studios.

GHOST HUNTERS (REALITY)
Series follows a group of paranormal researchers throughout the country as they try to uncover the mystery behind haunted houses.  Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson are plumbers by day and ghost hunters by night.
Status: Season 5 premiered in March. New episodes return August 19 at 9PM. Produced by: Sci-Fi Channel Productions / Pilgrim Films & Televsion, Inc.

GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL
(REALITY)
Spin-off of GHOST HUNTERS, this version takes the exploration to Europe.
Status: Season 2 premiered July 8 at 9PM. Produced by: Syfy Productions / Pilgrim Films & Televsion, Inc.

SYFY  ORIGINAL MOVIES (MOVIES)
Original movies by Syfy.
Status: On air. Produced by Sci-Fi Channel Productions.

STAR TREK ENTERPRISE (DRAMA)
Part of the STAR TREK franchise, this series takes place aboard the Enterprise, on which the original series was based, but 10 years prior.
Status: On air. Produced by: Paramount Television / Braga Productions / Rick Berman Productions.

STAR TREK: NEXT GENERATION (DRAMA)
Spin-off of the original STAR TREK series, this popular series follows Captain Picard and his crew on their adventures.
Status: On air. Produced by: Paramount Television.

WAREHOUSE 13 (DRAMA)
A drama that centers around Warehouse 13, a storage facility that houses thousands of government artifacts.  After a federal agent and U.S. attorney are banished to the facility after botching a case, they begin to realize that each item in Warehouse 13 has an incredible story of its own.
Status: Premiere July 7. Finale September 22. Produced by: Universal Cable Productions.

JULY 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

WAREHOUSE 13, EUREKA,  SCI FI ORIGINAL MOVIE (Malibu Shark Attack, Sand Serpents)), EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING, GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL


SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

The week starts out with a full stack of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION on Mondays. Tuesdays are now a night for showcasing top rated originals (EUREKA, WAREHOUSE 13) and EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING (ECW).  Wednesday is the only female-skewing night, where GHOST HUNTERS and GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL usually appear. Thursdays are mostly about movies. Fridays have shifted from low-rated acquired programs to encores of original programming. Saturdays and Sundays are all movies, including tORIGINAL MOVIES scattered throughout the weekend.

UPCOMING PREMIERES:

** GHOST HUNTERS returns August 19, 2009, at 9pm (with all new episodes throughout the fall).
** DESTINATION TRUTH season three premieres Wednesday, September 9th @ 9PM
** STARGATE UNIVERSE debuts October 2 @ 9PM-11PM, regular time slot Fridays from 9-10PM.
** SANCTUARY season two premieres Friday, October 9 @ 10PM (13 eps)
** SCARE TACTICS season three returns Tuesday, October 6 @ 9PM
** MIND CONTROL WITH DERREN BROWN returning this fall (premiere date not announced)

RATINGS ANALYSIS: Live Primetime Ratings Comparison:
July 2009 vs. July 2008  (% Change)

HH

M25-54

F25-54

Monday 8-11pm

-3%

5%

25%

Tuesday 8-11pm

49%

33%

108%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-12%

-16%

-15%

Thursday 8-11pm

6%

6%

17%

Friday 8-11pm

37%

24%

37%

Saturday 8-11pm

-1%

0%

-21%

Sunday 8-11pm

-8%

-10%

-2%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

8%

5%

9%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

With all the hype leading up to the Sci Fi Channel switch to Syfy on 7/7, a lot was riding on the July numbers. Happily, ratings were up, with 20% to nearly 40% bottom-line gains vs. June, and according to Syfy, the best July ratings in the network's 17-year history among total viewers  (1,358,000) and Women 25-54 (319,000).  As you can see above, the percentage gains were in the single digits vs. July 2008.

Much of the audience growth came from the successful launch of WAREHOUSE 13 and the return of EUREKA, but the network employed a couple of creative strategies that helped as well, High profile movie titles that usually appear solely on sister network USA found their way to Syfy this month (Pirates of the Caribbean, National Treasure, Total Recall), giving many nights a false bounce. Last month's odd Tuesday pairing of female-skewing GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL (in repeats) and male-skewing EXTREME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING threw down the numbers for both programs. This month GHI is back on Wednesdays with long-awaited new episodes, and ECW got top-rated, male-skewing WAREHOUSE 13 as a lead-in. Not so surprisingly, both programs are up in the ratings this month vs. last. However, both programs show core audience declines vs. last year.

The week started, as usual with three-hour blocks of STAR TREK" NEXT GENERATION. It looks like the wave of renewed interest in the program has already crested, as ratings are down 13% among households and 6% among core men 25-54 viewers. Monday night's ratings are up due to the plays of USA's stalwarts Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure.

Tuesday is the big night on Syfy, with the best ratings of the week among men and households. WAREHOUSE 13 successfully launched on 7/7 along with the network's new name, and was a hit out of the box. It is consistently topping stiff cable competition, bringing in more total viewers than new eps of HAWTHORNE and SAVING GRACE on TNT, RESUCE ME on FX, and DEADLIEST CATCH on Discovery (Syfy press).  The show took its place among the network's top premieres, ranking third behind EUREKA and STARGATE ATLANTIS. At 10PM, ECW bettered last month's performance by 10%, undoubtedly helped by the stronger lead-in. But the wrestling franchise is waning, as evidenced by the 16% drop in men 25-54 ratings vs. last year.

Wednesday remains the only female-skewing night on Syfy, with the GHOST HUNTERS franchise filling the night. GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL was back with new episodes, but the night was still down vs. last month and last year. The return of new episodes of GHOST HUNTERS in August should help the night get back to where it was.

Thursdays were not programmed aggressively, and it remains the lowest rated night of the week across the board. The night's line-up was dominated by movies, with the best performing title (The Mummy), being the only movie to get a program lead-in instead of a movie lead-in.

Fridays saw the successful return of EUREKA for season "3.5." The first half of season three finished up in September 2008, when it ran on Tuesday nights.  The program's premiere episodes are doing well on all fronts - they are the second-highest rated on the network behind WAREHOUSE 13. And compared to the new episodes that were running in September, premiere telecast ratings are better among core 25-54 viewers by 24%.

Weekends are all movies - mostly acquired, but some original. This month the original movies (Malibu Shark Attack and Sand Serpents) performed well, hitting the top 10 telecast list. But overall, the weekend movies tend to perform in the middle of the pack, with ratings hovering near the bottom-line Monday - Sunday averages.

And so, Syfy is out of the gate and running. So far we've seen one new hit series, two returning franchises and a slew of programming tricks that have gotten the new/old network off to a strong start.  With a long and expanded development slate and the return of more proven programming already in place, we expect to see Syfy continue to climb.

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

Syfy acquired two direct-to-DVD STARGATE Movies: Ark of Truth and Continuum


PROGRAM RENEWALS:
WAREHOUSE 13 renewed for a 13-episode second season to air summer 2010.

EUREKA renewed for a 22-episode fourth season.

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:

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA,  STARGATE ATLANTIS

Related