History Channel Performance/Schedule Analysis - October 2008

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of November 22, 2008)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

M 25-54.

OCTOBER 2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

HISTORY SUNDAY, CITIES OF THE UNDERWORLD, GANGLAND, JURASSIC FIGHT CLUB

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: 

SEPTEMBER to OCTOBER:

Monday - MODERN MARVELS is back at 8pm;

Tuesday - MODERN MARVELS returns at 8pm as well; SANDHOGS gets yanked, replaced by repeats of GANGLAND;

Thursday - repeats of CITIES OF THE UNDERWORLD move in at 10pm;

Sunday - the failing SANDHOGS gets the hook at 10pm, replaced by the generic strand HISTORY SUNDAY;

PREMIERES:

**  October 12th - BLACK BLIZZARD
**  October 26th - CITIES OF THE UNDERWORLD

NOVEMBER AND BEYOND

PREMIERES:

** November 7th - SHADOW FORCE
** November 10th - THE BRAIN
** November 11th - EXTREME TRAINS
** November 17th - EINSTEIN
** December 7th - 70's FEVER

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE: The big picture looks good from here.  Network press called this their best October ever, delivering monthly records for Adults 18-49 and 25-54, as well as target men in both age breaks.  In CableU Xpress we described this as a "steady as she goes" performance.  No breakout hits, no major failures, no big premiere series or specials.  Series and specials appeared to give solid numbers throughout the month. 

Last year November marked the beginning of a six month stretch of great numbers.  This month makes for a good platform as they head into that same stretch. 

OCTOBER 2008 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Mondays have become very reliable with a mix of MODERN MARVELS and a variety of specials.  Only one premiereof note, SECRETS OF BODY LANGUAGE, and it was the top performer for the month.  Target men were about double last year's repeat laden line-up.  Month to month growth in the 15% range was also impressive.

Tuesday was loaded with all repeats and still drew slightly better than last year.  GANGLAND led the way, pulling the month's largest male audiences in both male demos.

Wednesdays were a mixed bag, holding par with net averages for men 18-49, but falling short on the older men 25-54.  New episodes of JURASSIC FIGHT CLUB and MONSTERQUEST dominated the month, while repeats of the same stayed solid. 

Thursdays last year were horrible.  This year, they improved as much as 25-30% in men, finishing just short of the network averages for the month.  Again, nothing spectacular with individual programs.  Just decent numbers from mostly repeats of regular series.

Fridays really picked up the pace with strong increases in men over last month and last year.  New episodes of GANGLAND drove everything, with a little help from MODERN MARVELS.  A premiere special on Jack the Ripper tanked in the 10pm slot.  Not really the best fit with GANGLAND.  Might have been better served on a Sunday or Monday.

Saturdays remain the lowest rated night of the week, but are closing ground.  Nothing but repeats of two hour docs improved the numbers by 10% over last year. 

Sunday was the highest rated night of the week by a fairly considerable amount.  Still, it lost about 12-14% of last year's male audience.  To be fair, last year was skewed by one major special.  A few specials debuted on Sunday, but none had the breakout kind of numbers to match last year.  However, the last week of October saw CITIES OF THE UNDERWORLD return with a new season. Solid numbers for the premiere, on par with the nightly average.  Once again, steady is the word.  

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

None announced.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

THE UNIVERSE (11/11)

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

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

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