RELATED: The Viceland Network Preview Video
A+E Networks — months after a transaction was first reported as imminent, at the upfronts and newfronts in May — and Vice Media have struck struck a deal that will see the H2 cable network reformatted into a new programming entity with the working title Viceland.
A+E Networks (a joint venture of The Walt Disney Co. and Hearst) hopes the new network, powered by the online content purveyor, will draw advertiser-friendly-age viewers to complement the programmer’s existing History, Lifetime and LMN networks, plus the recently reformatted FYI. Here is an overview of H2’s programming history, with charts and reporting by Ratings Intelligence editor A.J. Katz.
History International was rebranded as H2 at the start of Q4 2011, with its programming getting refocused to feature documentary content from sister network History (before History shifted towards more reality series).
In addition to airing repeats of newer History series like Vikings, Pawn Stars and The Curse of Oak Island, among others, H2 has provided its viewers with original programs over the years.
Top H2 series over time include America Unearthed, America’s Book of Secrets, and newer ones like Brad Meltzer’s Lost History, and In Search of Aliens.
America Unearthed was H2’s first original series, and stands as the channel’s highest-rated and most-watched series of all time. The series premiered in December 2012. Season 3 ended in Q1 2015.
Modern Marvels, Ancient Aliens and The Universe and were History originals that would eventually leave History and air new episodes on H2.
Seventy-seven telecasts of Ancient Aliens aired on H2 from October 2011 through December 2014. H2 aired new episodes beginning in February of 2012; the series returned to History in 2015.
Ninety-eight telecasts of Modern Marvels aired from the network’s inception in September 2011 through 2012; and 70 telecasts of The Universe aired from 2011 to 2014.
H2 has not premiered an original series in 2015. Museum Men (pictured), airing from last November through this February, was H2’s final original.
Average total viewers for H2 hit a high in 2014. First-quarter 2014 was the most-watched quarter in network history. Q4 2014 was not far behind. After an annual increase in total viewers from the end of 2011 through 2014, H2 started to lose steam this year.
Primetime ratings for H2 in P18-49, 25-54 and total viewers have declined on a quarter-to-quarter basis in 2015 to date. H2 is currently averaging 301,000 total live-plus-same-day viewers this quarter to date, its lowest quarterly average since Q3 of 2013. The median age of an H2 viewer this quarter is an all-time high 57.8 years old.
This viewership drop is no surprise. When the Vice deal heated up this spring, all premieres were moved from H2 to History in order to try to gain back some of the core viewers. H2 is mainly airing repeats of History/H2 programming as a result of the upcoming rebrand.