History Channel Performance/Schedule Analysis - December 2008

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of January 21, 2008)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

M 25-54.

DECEMBER 2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

HISTORY SUNDAY, UFO HUNTERS, EXTREME TRAINS,  THE UNIVERSE, ANCIENT DISCOVERIES, CITIES OF THE UNDERWORLD, BAND OF BROTHERS

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Vestiges of the MODERN MARVELS strip still run at 8pm on several nights.  Premiere series tend to run at 9pm, with 10pm reserved for encore plays and/or established inventory series.  Thematic evenings take over on the weekend.  Network tends to run two hour event docs on Saturday.  Sundays have become the home for the umbrella theme "American Originals", including ICE ROAD TRUCKERS and AX MEN.  Specials can be inserted on Sunday evenings without breaking the flow of the regular schedule. Stability has been the hallmark of the schedule.  Multiple episode series and very few changes give the viewer several opportunities to find their programs and develop a pattern of appointment viewing.  

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES: 

NOVEMBER - DECEMBER:

Monday - Premiere episodes of CITIES OF THE UNDERWORLD shift from Sundays settling in the 9pm slot; ANCIENT DISCOVERIES comes over from Thursdays to fill in at 10pm

Tuesday - THE UNIVERSE and MODERN MARVELS share 8pm time slot, replacing the inventory mix from last month

Wednesday - MODERN MARVELS replaces a fading MONSTERQUEST at 8pm

Thursday - CITIES OF THE UNDERWORLD repeats shift back an hour to 10pm; repeats of GANGLAND fill the hole at 9pm;

Sunday - CITIES OF THE UNDERWORLD moved to Mondays, opening up the 8-10pm block for History Sunday specials

PREMIERES:

** December 7th - 70's FEVER

JANUARY AND BEYOND

PREMIERES:

** January 4th - NOSTRAMUS 2012

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE: It's the end of a great year for the channel.  Network press bills 2008 as a record year for Adults 18-49 and 25-54.  In addition, the median age hit an all-time low at 48.5 years. 

In terms of the month of December itself, target male audiences are flat vs November and down just slightly from last year.  Median age was the highest it's been all year, probably due to some WWII content tossed into Saturday nights.  Overall trending the last few months remains solid with male audiences checking out newer series and sticking with the network standards.

DECEMBER 2008 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Mondays continue the momentum from November, pushing up the male delivery near 20%.  Shifting the premieres of CITIES OF THE UNDERWORLD over from Sunday is paying dividends.  Mixed results with a couple MODERN MARVELS premieres.   Salt worked well, not so much on car washes.

Tuesdays are up nicely from last year as well.  New episodes of THE UNIVERSE were strong performers, but were outpaced by EXTREME TRAINS.  The 10pm series rode the rails straight to the top of the list.  It finishes up as the highest rated series of the month. 

Wednesdays were the low point for the week.  Male audiences are down 20% from last year.  MONSTERQUEST has fallen significantly from last year, more than 40% this month alone.  A Christmas Eve stack didn't help much.  UFO HUNTERS featured a couple of new episodes, one of which did OK.  Not enough to life the night.

Thursdays were flat on M18-49 and down 9% for M25-54.  The regular line-up held up fine for three weeks, primarily with repeats.  Christmas featured repeat biblical based specials with an older skew, drawing down the overall averages for the night.

Fridays are down across the board.  Night draws the lowest number of men all week, and the women are practically non-existent.  SHADOW FORCE, the lowest rated series on the network, pulls the night down dramatically, despite a full slate of premieres. 

Saturdays featured a mix of movies, docs, and a holiday marathon of BAND OF BROTHERS.  Overall, the night improved about 10% on last year, but still ends up below the network averages for the month.

Sundays mix of two hour specials was on par with last year.  Best of the bunch:  VALKYRIE: THE PLOT TO KILL HITLER, which did nicely in November as well.  The only premiere, 70's FEVER was about average.  The clip show jumped around the decade, with a nostalgic mix of moments and interviews, seemingly driven by available footage than a storyline. 

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

None announced.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

None announced

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

DECODING THE PAST, MEGA MOVERS, DOGFIGHTS, ENGINEERING AN EMPIRE, BONEYARD

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