BET Analysis - July 2011



* Bold denotes programming change


The BET Monday - Friday schedule typically features a movie each night at 8 or 9 with original programming / encores filling the remaining hour. Premiere night for new series is Tuesday, with plenty of encores scattered irregularly throughout the rest of the week. Saturdays are all movies and Sunday night is a mix of programming, including movies, original series, encores, news specials and encores of specials.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / July 2011 vs. July 2010  (% Change)




Monday 8-11pm




Tuesday 8-11pm




Wednesday 8-11pm




Thursday 8-11pm




Friday 8-11pm




Saturday 8-11pm




Sunday 8-11pm




MTWTFSS 8-11pm




*Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

JULY 2011:  It looks like BET is back in the ratings game. After a dismal May, the net spiked in June on the strength of THE BET AWARDS. This month the targeted women 18-49 ratings were not as strong as they were in June, but they are back up and -- 5% better than July 2010. In fact they are better than any month in 2010 except June. Still, ratings are lower than they were at the beginning of 2011 when the network was riding high from THE GAME.

Median age is also up this month. The median age is outside of the 18-34 target for the first time on our records. Older skewing nights were Thursday, Saturday and especially Sunday, when SUNDAY BEST made a strong showing.

SUNDAY BEST was back for a successful fourth season this summer. The gospel singing music competition pulled in the top average program ratings for the net across the board. BET claims it is "cable's number one music competition show of 2011." It also holds an older skew than the rest of the line-up.

TOYA; A FAMILY AFFAIR concluded its 16-episode first season with a wedding and the best-rated telecast of July. In fact, it was also the best-rated telecast of the show, topping even the premiere episode. Which just goes to show that everyone loves a wedding. Shockingly, BET did not encore the episode in primetime later in the week. Perhaps it is saving encores for another month

FAMILY CREWS, on the other hand, is still running encores, with countless airings of each episode. We got four more telecasts this month, even though the show's season ended a couple of months ago. Not surprisingly, FAMILY CREWS is still at the bottom of the rankers.

There were also some specials this month. BEYONCE: YEAR OF 4 ran three times, while  THE BET AWARDS SHOW got five more primetime encores this July. THE SOUL TRAIN AWARDS were simulcast with Centric, producing ratings slightly above the primetime average. Only a couple of BET AWARDS encores really popped the numbers.

Movies remain the majority of the programming with 37 movies airing within primetime this month, They appear nearly every night from Monday through Saturday, and are the scheduling backbone of BET. Some months they carry the network, but this month movies dropped about 10% of their audience and there were enough stand-outs to push movies down the rankers. The best rated movie, B.A.P.S., was number 13 among women 18-49. Other successful titles were Scary Movie 4 (ranking #4 among the less important men 18-49), and yet again we see Ray, Daddy's Little Girl and Madeas Family Reunion on the air and at the top of the list.


BET is ripe for some new headliner programming. After the strong showing at the beginning of the year with THE GAME and LET'S STAY TOGETHER, the springtime fare fell flat, and the summer is starting slow. Can BET reach those January heights again? Was it a fluke or a glimpse of the network's potential?

Comedy and sitcoms are in demand at BET. Celebrity reality, musical competitions, awards programming and specials are each still an essential part of the net's overall strategy to stay young and current. The lack of network fare that centers on African Americans creates a vacuum for acquired series on BET, pushing the network to produce their own series. Documentaries and specials with a social message are not usually ratings stars, but they remain a strong option for BET.