Food Network Analysis - May 2010

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MAY 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Food network has a ton of recognizable titles and rotates them through their schedule from month to month effectively.  They use quite a lot of half hours. This network, more than most nonfiction channels these days, has a predictable Sunday night. On Sundays, high production value studio based cooking competitions reign.  Food Network doesn't strip and Sunday night is the only reliable true stack. Other nights seldom run more than two episodes of a title, but will often match those two with a couple of similarly-spirited programs, creating a sort of affinity stack. At this shop, should anything less than three hours be called a short stack?

MAY 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

F18-49

F25-54

Monday 8-11pm

6%

15%

4%

Tuesday 8-11pm

24%

34%

31%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-7%

-8%

-10%

Thursday 8-11pm

8%

9%

-3%

Friday 8-11pm

134%

23%

20%

Saturday 8-11pm

-8%

-2%

-9%

Sunday 8-11pm

-6%

-2%

-8%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

3%

10%

2%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Food Network has been on such a great roll of year-to-year growth that it may have forgotten that this is a copycat business, successful genres and formats will be copied.

Bravo, Oxygen, TLC, Travel Channel, and Planet Green are a few Networks that have started to compete in the food space and peeling off some of FOOD's audience (and advertisers).  With the launch of the Cooking Channel (formerly Fine Living Network) and the acquisition of Travel Channel, is Scripps staking out a bigger piece of the food programming pie?  Or are they now cannibalizing their own viewers from Food Network?  It's worth keeping an eye on.

Guy Fieri and triple D (DINERS, DRIVE-INS & DIVES) continue to drive growth on Monday nights with modest growth from last year.  CHOPPED is the big performer for Tuesday night's growth, tending to double the CHEFS VS. CITY lead-in in all demographics.

Wednesday nights showed declines of 10% for the Women 25-54 demo.  Most weeks this month tended to show a hammock effect for THROWDOWN WITH BOBBY FLAY which dropped from the lead-in and forced DINNER IMPOSSIBLE to build from a lower startingpoint.

The inconsistency of the Saturday Night stacks led to drops from last year's ratings while FOOD NETWORK CHALLENGE was the weakest performer most Sundays (which also showed declines from last year.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

This network, one of the most clever in the cable universe for many years, needs you. The snazzy, studio-based Super-Bowl-like cooking competitions are still solid, but DINERS, DRIVE INS & DIVES, a field-produced roadshow dominates at the moment. A competitor, TLC, has dipped its toe into these potentially lucrative waters with a new series about BBQ competitions, thus blending two proven concepts. Here, as much as at any network, personality rules. Guy Fieri (a competition winner himself) is what makes DINERS, DRIVE INS & DIVES work. Imagining that show without him is like thinking DIRTY JOBS on Discovery would work without Mike Rowe. So... look for a new twist for these folks, whether in the field or back in the studio. They're surely looking for both. But don't even think about it if you don't have some good, promotable on-camera talent in mind.

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