History Channel Performance/Schedule Analysis - July 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of August 21, 2009)

CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMS:


AX MEN
(NON-FICTION)
Follow four logging crews through a season in the remote forests of northwest Oregon, where anything and everything can go wrong.  Technology, history, and characters are intertwined.
Status: Season 2 currently on air.  Produced by Original Productions.

ANCIENT DISCOVERIES (DOCUMENTARY)
Looking to the ancient past to find the origins of modern inventions. Clues to the beginnings of robots, ships, warfare, flight are all unearthed in this weekly series.
Status: Currently in repeats.

BATTLES B.C. (DOCUMENTARY)
Profiles ancient military heroes and battles. 
Status: Premiered March, 2009.  8x60.  Produced by Four In Hand Productions

CITIES OF THE UNDERWORLD (NON-FICTION)
Goes underneath the world's major cities to find dungeons, tunnels, tombs, trains, buildings, and ancient cities. Subjects include New York, London, Edinburgh, Istanbul, and others. Hosted by Don Wildman and Eric Geller.
Status: Season 3 finished up in early 2009.

GANGLAND (NON-FICTION)
Inside the prisons and on the streets of America, this series examines the most prominent and violent gangs today.  Episodes include MS-13 and Aryan Brotherhood.
Status: Currently airing Season 4

EXPEDITION: AFRICA, STANLEY AND LIVINGSTONE (DOCUMENTARY)
A real life recreation of the Stanley expedition to search for Dr. David Livingstone.  Five adventurers will follow Stanley's footsteps, using only the technology available in the 1870's.  
Status: Premiered May, 2009. 8x60. Produced by Mark Burnett Productions.

ICE ROAD TRUCKERS (NON-FICTION)
Truckers who fight time and the elements, driving across the seasonal ice sheet in the far northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, to deliver their cargo.
Status: Season 3 premiered in May, 2009.  Produced by Original Productions.

LIFE AFTER PEOPLE (DOCUMENTARY)
Based on the successful special, the series follows how things run in a world that has been deserted for a long period of time. 
Status: Premiered in April, 2009.  10x60.  Produced by Flight 33.

MONSTERQUEST (DOCUMENTARY)
(Full Disclosure: CABLEready represents the producer of this program.)  Looks at creature sightings around the world including the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and the Swamp Beast.
Status: Season 3 currently on air.  Produced by Whitewolf Entertainment.

MODERN MARVELS (NON-FICTION)
This signature series covers a different topic in each episode, exploring everything from architectural and engineering structures to scientific discoveries and social wonders to common objects that take prominence in human life - from bridges and dams to rubber and concrete, and everything in between.
Status: Ongoing production since 1995.  Produced by Actuality Productions

PAWN STAR$ (REALITY)
Follows a Las Vegas pawn shop and the family that owns it.  Three generations of Harrisons butt heads, run the business and place a value on items ranging from swords to paintings. 
Status: premiered in July, 2009. 14 eps. Produced by Leftfield Pictures

THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE (NON-FICTION)
The possibility of impossible inventions becoming real in the future, including time travel and invisibility.
Status: premiered in July, 2009.

UFO HUNTERS (NON-FICTION)
Four man team are the UFO Hunters.  With backgrounds ranging from science to publishing, the team uses eyewitness accounts, documents, footage, and science to investigate reports of UFO's.
Status: Season 3 premiered in March, 2009.  Produced by Motion Picture Production

THE UNIVERSE (DOCUMENTARY)
A look into the interstellar depths through robotic rovers and deep-space telescopes.
Status: Currently in repeats.  Produced by Flight 33 Productions.

WARRIORS (NON-FICTION)
Inside the culture of famous warrior groups, exploring their weaponry, tactics, and rituals.  Included are the Vikings, Barbarians, Aztecs, and the Samurai.
Status: Premiered March, 2009.  10x60.  Produced by High Noon Entertainment

JULY 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

PAWN STARS, ICE ROAD TRUCKERS, THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE, GANGLAND

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.  


UPCOMING PREMIERES:

** August 17 - WOODSTOCK: NOW & THEN
** September 7 - MANSON
** September 9 - NOSTRADAMUS EFFECT
** September 16 - MYSTERYQUEST
** September 20 - HOLY GRAIL IN AMERICA
** September 27 - DAY AFTER DISASTER

JUlY 2009 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison: 
July 2009 vs. July 2008  (% Change)

HH

A18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

3%

-11%

-8%

Tuesday 8-11pm

13%

24%

20%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-12%

-22%

-19%

Thursday 8-11pm

7%

24%

16%

Friday 8-11pm

8%

4%

-3%

Saturday 8-11pm

27%

3%

9%

Sunday 8-11pm

-3%

-4%

-8%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

4%

-3%

-2%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Audiences were down slightly in July versus year ago numbers.  Target men were off 2% for the 18-49 and the 25-54 brackets.  Not tragic, but a couple more points would have been nice.  Month to month comparisons brought some good news with audiences essentially flat from June.  A year ago, there was a measurable fade June to July.  Steady numbers this time around bode well for August.  Sunday remains the star of the schedule with ICE ROAD TRUCKERS and the new PAWN STARS.  Monday-Thursdays hold the middle, and the Friday/Saturday weekends were the low spot of the week.

Two new series this month and both delivered in a big way for the network.  Landing the network's top spot right out of the gate was PAWN STARS.  The Las Vegas pawn shop keeps things moving with a nice mix of fun characters, fun objects, and a healthy appetite of history along the way.  It's the closest thing to a history version of MYTHBUSTERS that we've seen and it works well.  Doesn't hurt having ICE ROAD as your lead-in of course.  That said, PAWN STARS surpassed ICE ROAD in its second week.  Even better, the 10:30 episode grew from the 10pm offering, a indicant of how strong the series can be.  Less exciting were a couple of repeats on Thursday.  Not quite the right fit with lead-in GANGLAND.

The other new series, THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE, also landed in the top 3 performers on the schedule in July.  The Tuesday night offering mixed in science with the history to cover a wide range of topics.  Target men were solid, especially with the 25-54 group.  Lead-ins were two hour inventory repeats.  THE UNIVERSE returns in August and should make for a compatible intro in IMPOSSIBLE's second month. 

ICE ROAD TRUCKERS keeps moving along with good speed in July.  Sunday premieres remain the highest rated telecasts on the network.  Men are the big draw, but women overindex the network averages by 50% or more.  Nice little bonus there.  Wednesday repeats pull the series average down, but boost Wednesday night overall.  Hugh and Alex keep up their rivalry, while Lisa tries to keep up.  The days are growing longer now heading towards the season finale in August. 

GANGLAND had a full month of premieres driving Thursday's numbers for the month.  Night was the second highest on the schedule for target men, just behind Sundays.  Median age was the youngest on the schedule.  Something a little younger to go with GANGLAND at 10pm is all that's needed right now.

MONSTERQUEST had fresh episodes three of the four weeks.  While target men were on par with June, they were down from last year.  Premieres continue to do better than repeats, but the gap was smaller this month.  Summer slowdown perhaps.

EXPEDITION AFRICA quietly wrapped up its debut season.  Wouldn't expect another one.  PAWN STARS took over the time slot midmonth and immediately doubled the delivery for target men. 

MOONSHOT was the big special event this month with the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11's moon landing.  Part of the network's "Summer of '69" specials strand, the drama/doc garnered tremendous press coverage across trade and consumer media.   The special improved on it's Monday lead-in, but couldn't draw the big numbers we've been seeing with other two hour programs of late.  Ratings were just below average in the target demos for 18-49 and 25-54.

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

None announced.


PROGRAM RENEWALS:

AX MEN, HOW THE EARTH WAS MADE, THE UNIVERSE, MONSTERQUEST, ANCIENT DISCOVERIES, MODERN MARVELS

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

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