Bolstered by a trio of original series and another solid performance for its "25 Days of Christmas" stunt, ABC Family recorded its top primetime year ever among viewers and across a host of key demos.
ABC Family averaged a network-best 1.46 million viewers in primetime during 2011 (Dec. 27, 2010 through Dec. 25, 2011), inching up 1% from 1.44 million during 2010, according to Nielsen data.
However, the network, which targets millennial females, powered double-digit advances among persons 18 to 34 (up 10% to 400,000 of those viewers from 365,000 in 2010), women 18 to 34 (10% to 269,000 from 245,000) and females 12 to 34 (10% to 437,000 from 398,000)..
In addition, network officials noted that ABC Family also notched record primetime audiences among persons 18 to 49 (678,000), persons 12 to 34 (627,000) and women 18 to 49 (443,000).
All told, 2011 marked ABC Family's eighth consecutive year of growth in primetime among total viewers, persons 18 to 34, females 18 to 49 and persons 12 to 34. Network officials also said it was the sixth straight year of growth among women 18 to 34 and females 12 to 34.
"[Two thousand eleven] marks eight consecutive years of record ratings growth and is the most-watched year on record in prime with our key female demos," said Michael Riley, president, ABC Family, in a statement. "The network's success has been driven by our brand-defining programming and original scripted fare, including the 2011 groundbreaking original series, Switched at Birth and our well-known The Secret Life of the American Teenager and Pretty Little Liars, making a great triple-threat for us. Our focus in 2012 will be to continue to build upon these successes and keep the emphasis on the great story-telling that resonates so strongly with our Millennial viewers."
Gauged against the basic-cable community, ABC Family recorded its highest annual primetime rank ever among women 18 to 34 and 18 to 49, finishing third with both groups. It was also the No. 3 cable network in primetime for the second straight year among females 12 to 34 and ranked among the Top 10 cable networks for the third consecutive campaign with viewers (10th), person 18 to 34 (eighth), persons 18 to 49 (10th) and viewers 12 to 34 (seventh).
As mentioned above, ABC Family enjoyed another banner year with original programming, delivering 2011's top two scripted cable TV series among its core millennial females 12 to 34 with seasons 1B and 2A of Pretty Little Liars. The network also chalked up four of the top five overall with season 4A of The Secret Life of the American Teenager and newcomer Switched at Birth. The latter ranked as the top new cable series of summer 2011 among persons and females 18 to 34, as well as viewers females 12 to 34.
As for the perennial "25 Days of Christmas" stunt, the 2011 version, its 14th overall, averaged 2.44 million viewers, behind only the 2010 iteration. This year's programming event ranked as the second-most-watched among persons 18 to 34 (601,000), women 18 to 34 (379,000), viewers 12 to 34 (855,000) and females 12 to 34 (538,000), behind only last year.
In turn, December 2011 marked ABC Family's second-best month ever with an average of 2.39 million primetime watchers, as well as with persons 18 to 34 (622,000), women 18 to 34 (395,000), persons 18 to 49 (1.12 million), women 18 to 49 (687,000) and viewers 12 to 34 (872,000). Those deliveries trailed only those recorded by the network in December 2010.