As much as any network in cable, Bravo has a "feel." It's bright, highly energetic and exudes an urban, upscale, sassy sensibility. The network has kept that vibe from becoming snobbish or off-putting with a winking admission that this is all just good, light, entertaining fun -- and everyone's invited. And... though that's mostly work accomplished in development, production and post efforts, it's also a scheduling strategy. There's almost never a show on Bravo's air that feels out of place. So, even though they stack very heavily, a viewer watching at, say, 9pm every night, will see a different program each day, but still feel very much a Bravo viewer. Hourlong programs dominate for now, but look for half hour programs in the future.
FEBRUARY 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison February 2012 vs. February 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
FEBRUARY 2012: Bravo’s primetime was fairly stable vs. last year. Core women 18-49 dropped just .01 of a rating point, or a 2% decline. Compared to February 2011 household ratings are up by 6%, as is the median age of the primetime audience and women 25-54 ratings. Men are up by 5%, but that demographic remains insignificant to Bravo’s programming mission. Compared to January, we see bottom-line women 18-49 ratings off by 8%.
Despite the slight drop we see in the core younger female live audience ratings vs. last year, BRAVO has proclaimed this February to be the “Most Watched February in Network’s History Among All Key Demos.”
Either way, the REAL HOUSEWIVES franchise continues to dominate Bravo’s primetime. This month there were three editions of the HOUSEWIVES on the air, covering the country – BEVERLY HILLS, ORANGE COUNTY, and ATLANTA. All told, the HOUSEWIVES were running regularly on five nights out of seven, with over 40 hours of primetime airtime. Add in the FIRST LOOK previews and HOUSEWIVES took over half of Bravo’s line-up. The editions are all in various stages of their seasons – FIRST LOOK previews, regular season, post-season reunions and just plain old repeats.
The franchise remains Bravo’s top draw, and with some creative scheduling it continues to grow. Pre and post season specials help to prop up the programs. This month the three reunion specials of the BEVERLY HILLS edition were the three top-rated telecasts of the month among women 18-49. However, the “social edition” and “lost footage episode” performed well below average. FIRST LOOK previews, which run between 10 and 20 minutes, usually succeed in spiking the numbers. Fridays went back to movies this month, and the HOUSEWIVES along with the FIRST LOOKS were moved to better-rated Thursday nights.
ORANGE COUNTY debuted its seventh season on February 7th with a loss of 14% of women 18-49 ratings vs. last year’s season six premiere on March 6TH. In a press release Bravo claimed “The Real Housewives of Orange County” season seven premiere earned 3 million total viewers, marking double digit growth with a 19 percent increase compared to last season’s premiere (3/6/11). ATLANTA grew nicely with a 36% gain vs. last year, although it took a 20% drop vs. last month.
The other major franchise on Bravo’s air this month was TOP CHEF, which relocated to Texas this season. Last year’s ALL STARS edition pulled in record numbers, and TEXAS couldn’t keep up; the program dropped by double digits -- 36% of women 18-49 and 17% of women 25-54.
The other regularly scheduled Bravo programming for February appeared just once a week. TABATHA TAKES OVER was a standout, continuing to gain audience as it jumped by 20% across the board vs. last month. Movies also showed some positive momentum with blockbusters Raiders of the Lost Arc and Bourne Supremacy pulling strong numbers. BETHENNY EVER AFTER had its premiere this month with numbers that were above the primetime average but below the HOUSEWIVES who spawned her. INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO hit the top 10 with a Brad Pitt interview. But the other Brad, from IT’S A BRAD, BRAD WORLD, did not fair as well. That program came to a close with a 30% decline vs. last month and no word of a renewal.