Sci Fi to Syfy: Syfy Has Its Best Year Ever

Published 4 years ago by

Syfy Channel Logo Eureka Sanctuary SGU Sci Fi to Syfy: Syfy Has Its Best Year Ever

When Dave Howe stepped up to the plate at Sci Fi, took the reigns of the network and started heading them towards their new future, he wanted to expand on the number of markets the network was in, which included the youth market (demographic). Howe was also concerned with replacing their flagship television series, Battlestar Galactica & expanding on Ghost Hunters.

As Syfy rebranded itself, it also took the high road to trying to create improved quality content for the channel. In the fracas of it all, they “repainted” the familiar fun that was Stargate and created Stargate Universe – much to the angst of the core Stargate fans.

In most cases their approach seems to be working… But as with any TV network change, some fans will get left behind as that network attempts to improve or change their overall number of viewers.

First, the Numbers:

The network needs to make money to survive.  The fan base they had was stagnant.  A stagnate demographic is a death knell for a network when the same viewers are coming to watch their product.  For survival’s sake, they need new blood tuning in every week.

For both Syfy’s new and old shows, they did well.

Warehouse 13 brought in 3.9 million viewers, making it the most successful series in Syfy history.  (Of course, they slap it in the summer line up where there’s little competition, but hey, whatever works.  Right?

Eureka (They specify the 2nd half of season 3) brought in 3.15 million total viewers.  That’s the first time Eureka has had more than 3 mil viewers.

Ghost Hunters 5th season saw 3.05 million total viewers.  That made it their best season in key demographics.

Destination Truth’s third season had 2.2 million total viewers.  Its best season ever in key demos

Stargate Universe‘s first 8 episodes Live+7 DVR ratings numbers gave SGU an average of 2.64 million viewers.  The first 8 episodes of SGU had 26% more viewers than the 5th season of Stargate Atlantis. (It’s odd how they keep comparing things to SGA’s 5th season.)

With Sanctuary, its Live+7 DVR stats is averaging 2.16 million total viewers.

Scare Tactics viewership was up 34% in total viewers, averaging 1.47 million total viewers.

The Rebrand Is Working

It’s obvious that the rebranding is helping Syfy surge forward in many categories.   It looks like the network regrouping is helping some of our favorite shows outperform their previous records.  Sure, Stargate Universe doesn’t agree with some, but it is doing the job that the network has hoped for and that’s draw in viewers or retain the BSG demographic who like dark, human angles to their sci-fi.

Syfy moved from its 9th place position among cable entertainment networks to 6th in 2009. They’ve had the best year in 17 years with various demographics as new viewers represented a 12% increase in viewer numbers.

Even Syfy.com has seemingly benefited from the rebranding as the site has seen a 10% boost in visitors, averaging 3.6 million unique visits.

So sure, Dave Howe knows what he’s doing.  Some shows will benefit, some fans will benefit.  But with Howe focused on the bottom line, some fans are going to be left behind.  It’s a shame, but it is what it is.  If the network grows, some sci-fi fans will reap the reward, while others are shown the door.

Sound off Screen Rant readers.  We want to know what you’re thinking.

Sources:  NBC / Syfy Press, TV By The Numbers

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TAGS: battlestar galactica, destination, eureka, ghost hunters, stargate, stargate universe, truth, warehouse 13

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  1. OK, who hi-jacked my quiz!!!???

  2. @Vic…

    Maybe you can make up a “What’s your favorite SyFy program?” poll?

  3. IntelliQ:

    A: They could not copyright Sci Fi. Too generic and I’m not sure it’s copyright-able. (Is that a word???) Now Syfy, that they can copyright and be unique and identifiable. Of course, they had to buy the name from a website that already had that handle.

    B: I was not scared watching The Shining. It’s impossible to be scared when you’ve run out of the house after the twins first showed up. The rest was a “walk in the park.”

    :P throws tomato back and runs like all get-out!

    • Who cares about copywriting the name? Oh sure, they do.

      But “Syfy” is meaningless in the context of what they were supposed to be, and The SciFi Channel said it perfectly. It was already identifiable. I remember how badly I wanted cable when I couldn’t afford it just to get The SciFi Channel, and how when I finally did get cable, I had to make sure my package included the one channel I wanted — THE SCI FI CHANNEL.

      Boy are those days gone.

      SyFy — Still and always an epic FAIL. Negative points for being a non-word.

  4. @Vic – Thanks, that makes sense for the businesses, in part.
    But what about SyFy, they already had a channel with a well known household name, why change the spelling for that? (I was hoping the last person would have expanded on it)

    @Bruce – Huh? It wasnt me I swear. (Or should I do CYA and say “To the best of my recollection, I do not recall”……)

  5. @Bruce…

    The Shining is STILL the BEST adaptation of a Stephen King novel put to film to this day. IF there is ever a Dark Tower movie/series made, I hope whoever does the script takes a long, hard look at how The Shining was done. I’d hate to see some of Stephen King’s best work turned into Pet Semetary.

  6. Throws tomato at Bruce for sharing publicly that he was scared watching The Shining.

    Heh heh heh *OFFICIALLY HIJACKED!* :-p

  7. That’s well and good, but I still want to pronounce it Siffee, every time I see the new logo. Sounds like a disease or a beverage.

  8. @Andy

    I dunno, I thought Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and Misery were all pretty well done as well. Would also offer up Stand By Me and Carrie as being decent adaptations. Maybe because the Shining was the first one not completely hacked up by Hollywood. Maybe Carrie wasn’t mainstream enough but for it’s genre it turned out to be a good classic gore fest, but I would agree that a lot of his stuff just didn’t translate too well into film through somehow. For example The Dead Zone… casting Christopher Walken was great as the hero, Martin Sheen as the bad guy, not so much.

  9. the GREEN MILE for me!

  10. Interesting article. I’m glad Syfy is getting the numbers, if only because it shows more Americans are getting into SciFi and Fantasy shows. I’m not a big fan of television, I rarely have access to one. But I do try to watch Sanctuary whenever possible to give it the ratings. Sanctuary, in my opinion, has the perfect blend of darkness and light. The characters (most of them) are well thought out and the interactions are realistic. There are funny moments and dark, gritty moments. A very nice blend. Too bad it doesn’t get better numbers.
    As far as SGU, I think it has potential, but it hasn’t quite reached it yet. Love what they did in Justice with Rush, totally had me shocked and waiting for more. Also loved the Ming Na storyline in Life. However sometimes they’re just trying to be too dark and gritty, just for the sake of it. Some of the sex scenes are just there for the sex, nonsensical for the story. I’m no prude, I don’t mind sex in my TV, hell I could do with more… but build a story, make me want to see the characters together (or at least understand why they are) and you can show all the flesh you want. Sex for the sake of it is ridiculous.

  11. Talking Stephen King adaptations, The Mist has to be up there, the Black and White directors cut is a beautiful tragedy of a movie.

  12. the mist is in b/w???wow now that would’ve been better-would’ve made the ending better or more sense…like a long episode of the twilight zone…

  13. The DVD that I have, region 1 special edition has a B/W directors cut on it.

  14. (Syfy) “Sounds like a disease or a beverage” —>>> LMAO

    Indeed.
    I had to turn off my cable for a while and hadn’t gone to the website… When I found out they were calling it SyFy, I almost threw up. I have to agree with IntelliQ as well that whenever I see the dumbing down of the spelling to be “hip” or whatever, it makes me slightly ill. But I can dig it as to the copyright issues. It still doesn’t take away from the fact that SciFi is better.

    Oh, and SyFy is not GIRLIE, Rod. I doth take offense. ;-)

    Re: Stephen King flicks – man, you either have really awesome or really BAD adaptations. The Shining is one of my favorite films ever, despite it being different than the book. That said, The Mist was haunting and tragic. I need to see the B&W!

  15. I liked all the King adaptations except for Langoliers. I even liked Lawnmower Man even though he wouldnt put his name to that one and it didnt follow his story properly.

    The Stand, now I read that 3 times and although the movie seemed like a milquetoast version of it, they nailed the casting perfectly. (Fans of the Stand should read a book called Swan Song which I think is better, based on same theme as the Stand)

  16. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES, SGU IS SO BAD ON SO MANY LEVELS. THIS IS PURE CRAP. NO LONGER A FAMILY SHOW WITH WIT AND HUMOR. I DON'T ASSOCIATE WITH PEOPLE LIKE THIS IN REAL LIFE AND I CERTAINLY DON'T CALL THEIR TYPE OF BEHAVIOR ENTERAINMENT. REALITY TV IS WHAT I HAVE SPENT MY ADULT LIFE TEACHING MY CHILDREN NOT TO BE. I HAVE NO DESIRE TO SCRATCH MY EYES OUT TO STAY TUNE FOR MORE INSANITY. YOU ARE RIGHT IT ISN'T YOUR FATHERS STARGATE, THANK GOD HE AT LEAST HAD CLASS.

  17. I HAD ANOTHER THOUGHT, SGU MAKES ME FEEL LIKE BRAD PITT'S MOTHER. SG1 AND SGA IS LIKE JENNIFER, WONDERFUL, ENJOYABLE, COULD INVITE TO YOUR HOME AND HAVE YOUR KIDS AROUND. SGU IS LIKE ANGELNIA JOLIE, UNACCEPTABLE AND VULGAR, SOMEONE YOU WOULD NEVER TELL YOUR FRIENDS THAT YOU WOULD EVEN TALK TO MUCH LESS INVITE TO YOUR HOUSE AND HAVE AROUND YOUR KIDS. JUST PURE TRASH.

  18. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES, SGU IS SO BAD ON SO MANY LEVELS. THIS IS PURE CRAP. NO LONGER A FAMILY SHOW WITH WIT AND HUMOR. I DON'T ASSOCIATE WITH PEOPLE LIKE THIS IN REAL LIFE AND I CERTAINLY DON'T CALL THEIR TYPE OF BEHAVIOR ENTERAINMENT. REALITY TV IS WHAT I HAVE SPENT MY ADULT LIFE TEACHING MY CHILDREN NOT TO BE. I HAVE NO DESIRE TO SCRATCH MY EYES OUT TO STAY TUNE FOR MORE INSANITY. YOU ARE RIGHT IT ISN'T YOUR FATHERS STARGATE, THANK GOD HE AT LEAST HAD CLASS.

  19. I HAD ANOTHER THOUGHT, SGU MAKES ME FEEL LIKE BRAD PITT'S MOTHER. SG1 AND SGA IS LIKE JENNIFER, WONDERFUL, ENJOYABLE, COULD INVITE TO YOUR HOME AND HAVE YOUR KIDS AROUND. SGU IS LIKE ANGELNIA JOLIE, UNACCEPTABLE AND VULGAR, SOMEONE YOU WOULD NEVER TELL YOUR FRIENDS THAT YOU WOULD EVEN TALK TO MUCH LESS INVITE TO YOUR HOUSE AND HAVE AROUND YOUR KIDS. JUST PURE TRASH.

  20. I'll rserve judgement on this rebranding for now but I do think the name change was stupid and nothing but a marketing hack. Thats aid , as a long time SciFi viewer I can tell you that if I owned a network otherthen SciFi I would NEVER, under any condition higher any exec who worked at SciFI. these poeple have in the passt always made the mostidiotic decisisons with prgramming.

    In short this was the recipe used at SciFi for many eyars:

    If it's popular and not a reality show then cancel itunless its the only show left on teh line up in whcih case we have to keep at least 1 non-reality TV show afterall this is the SciFi channel; at least until we do a name change then we can cancel all the Science Fiction shows

    If its not popular but its a reality show keep it; its just too dirt cheap to cancel even if it pisses off the fans.

  21. I’m here because I have just been hooked with Stargate Universe… Quality Sci Fi !!.

    I feel sorry for the Lady who doesn’t like it, but it’s perfect for someone who grew up reading real scifi.

    I’d like darker stories and less of the fem drama bits

  22. I am glad the network has gained more viewers, but I believe it has done so at the loss of the core audience. I for one appreciate science fiction that actually has believable science as a core ingredient, not just fiction. With the new lineup of the channel, the science is not rooted in the realm of hypothetical possibilities, and I lose the suspension of disbelief with the cheesy explanations (or lack thereof) of some of the basic premises, rendering much of the content just fiction and no science. I suppose I am a minority but I for one miss the core values that made the SciFi channel what it used to be.

    • If you’re in the minority I’m right there with you.

      Serious lover of science fiction here. And I can’t stand the rebranding, it insults my intelligence every time I see it. I watch all my science fiction on hulu.com and netflix now, and never bother turning the TV on.

      Maybe if they’d made an effort to serve up more good science fiction they’d have done better with people like me who only want to watch science fiction.

      OH — and 40-something woman, no basement-dweller, not anti-social. A few degrees.

  23. it seems to me that the 31 one days of halloween is 31 days of ghost hunters and scare tactics. i remember when this channel had all the good scary movies. now i cant even describe how i feel about this channel. it makes me so mad that i have to watch ghost hunters and scare tactics all day. and last halloween ghost hunters was on all nite. unbelievable. now i have to go rent or buy scary movies. which i have a lot of them so i will go in my collection and find me a scary movie to watch while you guys have ghost hunters on.who thinks up this stuff. people want to see killer bees or something. all this boring sh. you are putting on this channel is crazy. who thinks up this crazy schdule. unbelievable.

  24. I love visual effects and intelligent syfy. I loved farscape, SG1, SG1 Atlantis, and a lot of their excellent sci-fi original movies. I just saw blood and chrome and it was amazing, simply amazing. Syfy passed on it. Why? Because its no longer a sci-fiction channel. It’s just another dumbed down cable news network. What is even worse, is just how the strategy of replacing the reduction in quality scifiction with garbage reality television has been a success. Ugh.

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