BET Analysis - May 2010

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MAY 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

The BET Monday - Friday schedule typically features a movie each night at 8, with original programming or encores running at 10. Premiere nights for new series are usually Tuesdays and Wednesdays 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.

MAY 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / Mayl 2010 vs. May 2009  (% Change)

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

14%

5%

21%

Tuesday 8-11pm

0%

5%

7%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-9%

-29%

0%

Thursday 8-11pm

24%

13%

42%

Friday 8-11pm

7%

16%

0%

Saturday 8-11pm

6%

17%

13%

Sunday 8-11pm

-2%

-35%

-4%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

4%

0%

9%

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

MAY 2010: Not too much movement again for BET's bottom-line this month, as Monday through Sunday average primetime adult 18-49 rating grew 4% vs. last year and stayed the same as last month. Again, we saw BET gain some ground with women as men stayed even.

The BET line-up was surprisingly short this month. THE BET MOVIE OF THE WEEK was in full force with 31 telecasts, there were five encores of last month's SPRING BLING special, SUNDAY BEST aired 5 new episodes and eight encores, while TINY & TOYA had 5 new episodes and an excessive 32 encores. And that was it. Four different program choices over five weeks.

Movies are arguably the most important component of the BET schedule. They certainly dominate the primetime real estate, airing every single night except Sundays. Although as a whole movies score better with women, they are the only programming element on BET's line-up that can produce a male skew. It is the top rated "program" among men 18-49. Top titles of the month for the respective demo sets are You Got Served (#14 for households), Scarface (#1 for men) and Bringing Down the House (#16 for women). Those rankings perfectly illustrate the importance of movies to each of BET's demo sets.

After movies, TINY & TOYA was the next most dominant element on the schedule. New episodes of TINY & TOYA pulled in the top rated telecasts among younger women this month. New episodes ran on Tuesday night at 10, while the other 32 telecasts ran the throughout the rest of the week. With all those encores, it's not surprising that the program also pulled in the lowest rated telecast.

SUNDAY BEST does best with women 25-54. It continues to improve, with those core ratings up by 19% vs. last month. The program is technically the top rated show, due to the high number of TINY & TOYA encores dragging down that average. But the program does skew a lot older than typical BET fare, and the median age for Sunday nights is a full 50% higher than the Monday through Sunday average.

And that's all there is -- two unscripted programs, encores of last months' special and movies six nights a week.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

The network continues to hone in on women, and is keeping its line-up tight. Best bet for a new program will have a celebrity and/or reality and/ or musical element to it.

BET has declared that programming that centers on the family is their main focus. Citing internal research studies, particularly "African Americans Revealed," the net says that the most relevant insight they found was the importance of family; 88% of those studied cited family as their top priority. This fits in nicely with the female direction BET primetime has been taking for the past year. (If not the latenight music videos).

After a failed attempt at scripted drama with HARLEM HEIGHTS in 2009, the network will jump back into that game with THE GAME and LET'S STAY TOGETHER in the 2010/2011 season. Specials continue to spike the numbers, and we can expect to see more of them next year. But the crux of the plans are heavy on celebrity / music / reality competition programming. Those programs tend to have a short shelf life; development needs to stay active to support that strategy.

BET continues to use its political and social voice in the form of on-air programming.  The network has made a public commitment to Michelle Obama's childhood obesity effort Let's Move, and will incorporate the messaging into talk shows, news programming and specials.

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