More than 65M Flock to Discovery’s Planet Earth


Discovery Channel’s 11-part Planet Earth went down in the record books as cable’s highest-rated natural-history program of all-time and possibly the biggest cable “event” of the century, reaching more than 65 million viewers.

The network touted its HDTV miniseriesas “the most-watched cable event of all time,” with “event defined as original, premiere miniseries programming, with gross rating points totaled across telecasts, excluding sports or news.”

Planet Earth,which kicked off March 25, averaged a 3.3 Nielsen Media Research household rating, with each of the series’ 11 episodes premiering to a 3.0 household rating or higher. The last installment was April 29.

The series racked up more than 65 million cumulative viewers in all dayparts, including the two-hour Planet Earth: The Filmmakers’ Story special.

Planet Earthwas the No. 1 ad-supported cable program, excluding sports, among persons 25-54 for all six Sundays it aired.

Compared with Discovery’s prior six Sundays, Planet Earth increased its 8 p.m.-10 p.m. average with triple-digit ratings gains. That included a 121% increase in households and 150% increase in persons 18-49.

According to TNS Media Intelligence’s set-top-box data in a major market, Discovery HD Theater airings of Planet Earth boosted the series’ overall household rating by 19%.

Additionally, Planet Earth delivered more than 2 million views on video-on-demand, the top-performing VOD event since Discovery began tracking numbers in October 2004.

A co-production of Discovery Channel and the British Broadcasting Corp., the HDTV series was filmed in more than 200 countries and took more than five years to produce.