Syfy Unleashes a Sharknado Attack

The newly-aggressive Comcast subsidiary takes a page from Discovery in rolling out its first-ever “Sharknado Week.”

May 27, 2014 at 7:04PM
Sharknado

Yes, there is a sequel. And it blows in on July 30. Credit: Syfy.

Get ready for more Great Whites. In what looks like a naked attempt to win viewers who each year tune in for Discovery's (NASDAQ:DISCA) "Shark Week," Syfy has unveiled plans for its own lineup of shark-themed content, highlighted by the world premiere of Sharknado 2: The Second One.

Dubbed "Sharknado Week," Syfy's programming includes Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark on July 26, Sharkmania: The Top 15 Biggest Baddest Bloodiest Bites on July 27, Sharknado 2: The Second One on July 30, and Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda -- a new Roger Corman monster movie -- on Aug. 2.

My guess is Discovery won't suffer much from Syfy's Sharknado shenanigans, especially since "Shark Week" doesn't begin until Aug. 10. Tens of millions tune in to watch the channel's various shark-themed specials if history is any guide.

So why should investors care what Syfy does? Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) second-largest source of operating profit is NBC's cable networks, and Syfy is still one of its major subsidiaries. (Along with Bravo, E!, and USA Network.) "Sharknado Week" offers yet another chance for the network to prove its bonafides while remaking the lineup.

Don't take my word for it; look at the numbers. Sharknado attracted more than 5 million viewers over three airings last July, Variety reports. Mix in a follow-up merchandising deal and $1.2 million in DVD and Blu-ray sales and you've one of the better B-movie debuts in recent memory.

Mix in bigger investments in horror dramas such as Helix and this summer's Legion plus four new comic book adaptations and unscripted programming such as The Wil Wheaton Project and a path to renewed growth emerges.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you like Syfy's strategy? Will you be tuning in for "Sharknado Week"? Please leave your take in the comments section below, including whether you would buy, sell, or short Comcast stock at current prices.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings, or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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