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