MARCH 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:
* Bold denotes programming change
The BET Monday - Friday schedule typically features a movie each night at 8, with original programming or encores running at 10. This February, THE GAME and LET'S STAY TOGETHER took over that role to some degree. 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.
MARCH 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / March 2011 vs. March 2010 (% Change)
*Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
MARCH 2011: This month brought BET its lowest ratings of 2011, but those ratings were better than all but one month (June) of 2010. All the year-over-year growth comes from women, as men 18-49 ratings are exactly the same as last year. And all of that female growth comes from Tuesdays, as all the other nights show declines vs. Tuesday's triple-digit increases (see above). And to bottom-line the bottom-line, almost all of Tuesday's growth comes from the new BET-produced season of THE GAME.
Which is not to say that THE GAME was the only game on BET. LET'S STAY TOGETHER is riding the sitcom's coattails. The four premiere telecasts of THE GAME were the top four rated telecasts of the month, and the four premiere telecasts of LET'S STAY TOGETHER produced the next four highest rated telecasts of the month. (The next four telecasts in the ranker were the Tuesday encores of THE GAME.) Both programs are down slightly on their core women 18-49 demo vs. last month, but are still head and shoulders above the rest of the line-up. Both programs are incredibly targeted, with women 18-49 ratings higher than the household ratings.
The annual special RIP THE RUNWAY debuted on Monday, March 21st. Monday nights have become the night of choice for many of BET's annual specials. RIP THE RUNWAY was one of the top performing efforts of the month, but women 18-49 ratings were off by one-third vs. last year.
Movies continue to play an important role in the primetime line-up strategy, supporting most nights, with the exception of Tuesdays and Sundays. Because of the strength of THE GAME and LET"S STAY TOGETHER, movies are underperforming the network average right now. The top title among core women 18-49 was The Love And Basketball Movie, and it ranked 16th.
THE FAMILY CREWS was back for a second season this month. With just 12 telecasts (4 premieres, 8 encores) this year vs. 22 total telecasts last year, average program ratings are nearly identical. Premiere telecasts grabbed higher ratings last year, but the excessive number of encores flattened out the numbers. Limiting encores is a luxury afforded when the bench is deep, as it is this year with four seasons of THE GAME and one season of LET'S STAY TOGETHER in the mix.
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
With the successful launch of THE GAME this January, BET is now ready to says it is ready to bulk up its scripted originals in 2011, particularly comedies, hoping to build on its success. But in the 2011 upfront presentation to advertisers, only one new sitcom was announced.
Celebrity reality, musical competitions, awards programming and specials are each still an essential part of BET's overall strategy to stay young and current. Documentaries and specials with a social message are also a strong option at BET.