Comedy Central Analysis - July 2010

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JULY 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Comedy Central is experimenting with various series and specials to replace repeats of the previous night's THE DAILY SHOW at 8pm, followed by THE COLBERT REPORT at 8:30 PM.

For the rest of the evening on most weekdays short-run series fill the last two hours, with premieres staggered throughout the year. With nearly 200 episodes still in rotation, SOUTH PARK, the traditional go-to series to fill problem time periods, has been joined lately by FUTURAMA and TOSH.0 in that role. Friday nights are devoted to Stand-Up specials, with movies and more Stand-Up  dominating the rest of the Weekend.

Comedy Central's schedule stands out in nonfiction cable (excluding news/sports networks) because two of its highest-profile franchises, The Daily Show With John Stewart and The Colbert Report, are weekday live-to-tape productions. Comedy Central's programs are arranged on a grid rare for its dependably predictable pattern -- day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, even year-to-year. These folks surely have some of the strongest appointment viewing numbers in the business. Their audience is also unusually, enviably young - hovering, on average, around thirty-one years old. That it also skews male should make you imagine the sound of money being printed.

JULY 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison July 2010 vs. July 2009 (% Change)

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

16%

51%

9%

Tuesday 8-11pm

15%

11%

20%

Wednesday 8-11pm

23%

40%

50%

Thursday 8-11pm

64%

103%

11%

Friday 8-11pm

-13%

-21%

-7%

Saturday 8-11pm

-15%

0%

17%

Sunday 8-11pm

-3%

21%

-19%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

10%

21%

-9%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Stand-up specials continued to score well, occupying 7 of the top 10  HH Rtg slots for the third consecutive month. Compared to June, HH and key demos were up modestly, while annual losses in HH and younger men experienced in 2nd Quarter began to turn around in July.

In its second month running 9-11pm on Mondays, the off-FX series IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA was helped by new lead-in TOSH.0. Replacing RENO 911, TOSH.0 proved to be quite compatible with PHILADELPHIA, as both series combined to give the night modest growth over June, while racking up siginificant year-to-year gains for RM18-49.

Tuesday's two hour SOUTH PARK block grows steadily from 9-11pm most nights, leading to modest double-digit growth over last July, and somewhat stronger increases over June.

Wednesday benefited from premiere episodes of 1030pm TOSH.0 (Season 2) which grew smartly over its SOUTH PARK lead-in. This is quite significant, even with SOUTH PARK currently in repeats, as TOSH.0 is the first series in memory to pull this off. This led not only to slight growth over the same lineup last month, but also led to strong across-the-board increases over July 2009.  Earlier in the evening, FUTURAMA reliably held  its much-played 8-9p CHAPPELLE'S SHOW lead-in.

Thursday's HH and Male demo delivery benefited from a schedule change, as a second run of the increasingly ubiquitous TOSH.0 replace UGLY AMERICANS at 830, leading into a block of FUTURAMA, now from 9-11pm. Younger men demos doubled from last July and both men and women  viewers were up by modest double-digits from June.

Friday's Stand-Up block now follows a fourth 8pm run of TOSH.0. The only night in July to decline across the board from last year, Fridays were up sharply over last month for HH and female demos.

Comedy sets from Kevin Hart, Steve Byrne, and Gabriel Iglesias led the pack of weekend Stand-Up offerings.  SCARY MOVIE and WEDDING CRASHERS were the top-rated movies this month.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

Comedy ranks among the top 10 cablers for the 18-34 demographic, and mainly with a mix of their original series, stand-up and sketch, not off-net acquisitions like most of the other cable networks.

Originals are sketch, stand-up, reality.

Comedy over the past year or so has actively been buying movie packages from many of the big studio distributors and it doesn't look like they are slowing down anytime soon.

Important:

COMEDY CENTRAL and Levity Entertainment have signed a multi-year, multi-platform output deal for a series of stand-up specials that will premiere on the channel in 2009 and 2010.  The deal includes six stand-up specials from Christopher Titus, Gabriel Iglesias, Pablo Francisco, Jim Breuer, Mitch Fatel, Pete Correale that will air in 2009 and six additional stand-up specials that will shoot in 2009 to air in 2010.  At least eight of the upcoming stand-up specials will be released on DVD by COMEDY CENTRAL Home Entertainment.   Stand-up specials continue to be incredible success on the channel, and allows the development of comedians across all platforms.

Comedy's strategy of having young male demographics as their primary audience has helped them for potential growth. Comedy is on a roll and focusing on the future by securing top talent and development deals. Projects in development run the gamut from short-form and sketch/variety to scripted narrative and animation starring a cross-section of top comedic talent. Sketch comedies and animation are on tap for Comedy as part of its new slate of original pilots.

Comedy Central knows what's funny. One of the many growing networks, they are one of the most successful for on-air, online and on-the-go mobile technology. They give their viewers access to the cutting-edge original programming, stand-up and sketch comedy, plus offbeat comedy TV series and movies. Their strategy of attracting the young male demographic continues to grow month to month whether their strategy be one off originals or stunt/holiday programming.

Comedy continues to acquire a variety of original stand-up comedy programs and specials. There are three outlets currently for talent that the network features stand-up shows: COMEDY CENTRAL PRESENTS, LIVE AT GOTHAM, as well as one-hour specials filmed exclusively for COMEDY CENTRAL.

Comedy, which like TBS, keeps its entire focus on comedy, has new seasons of several original series in production for 2010, including The Sarah Silverman Program, Important Things With Demetri Martin.and Tosh.0  Cable networks in record numbers are launching their own comedies out of sheer necessity because there are so few comedies being scheduled by the broadcast networks. Since the late 1990s, reality shows have steadily displaced comedies on the broadcast side, and many broadcast comedy writers have shifted to cable.

Comedy Central and The New York Comedy Festival announced a multi-year partnership deal, giving the five-day comedy showcase a national television partner for its fifth iteration.  The festival will feature a variety of top-tier comedians including Frank Caliendo, Louis C.K., Craig Ferguson, Carlos Mencia, Joel McHale, B.J. Novak, Tracy Morgan, Brian Regan, Sarah Silverman and Katt Williams.  The multi-year national partnership will include producing an on-air special shot at the Festival which will premiere in early 2009, as well as digital media support and other content opportunities.

Comedy's strategy of having young male demographics as their primary audience has helped them for potential growth.  Comedy is on a roll and focusing on the future by securing top talent and development deals.  Projects in development run the gamut from short-form and sketch/variety to scripted narrative and animation starring a cross-section of top comedic talent. Sketch comedies and animation are on tap for Comedy as part of its new slate of original pilots.

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