AUGUST 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:
* Bold denotes programming change
The strategy is a clean checkerboard. Monday through Friday it's individual series in prime. Library series from the broadcast networks alternate at 8pm forming a quasi-strip. Saturday showcases inventory series and repeats with mini-stacks. Sunday night anchors the schedule with premiere series.
AUGUST 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / August 2011 vs. August 2010 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
August was a slow month for the channel, if you consider 40% increases in your audience slowing down. Sure, it's not quite the 80-100% jumps we've seen the last six months, but we think they're pretty happy over at ID right now. More important than the annual numbers is the trending. Audiences are staying month to month with a slight trend up in the key A25-54 demo since the beginning of the year. That's what you like to see as a programmer.
The schedule featured a number of solid performers across the week, but the standout was UNUSUAL SUSPECTS. The Sunday night series doubled last month's already strong ratings, landing the top spot for the month.
I MARRIED A MOBSTER carried Wednesdays with a batch of new episodes at 10pm. Lead-in WHO THE BLEEP DID I MARRY at 9pm was also very strong. Combined, the two series made Wednesday the second best night of the week for the key demos, just a tad behind Sundays.
BEHIND MANSION WALLS held down the Monday 10pm slot with well above average numbers, and bumping up 10% from July in the target demos.
Tuesdays featured the newest ID series, BIG LAW: DEPUTY BUTTERBEAN and premieres of I ESCAPED: REAL PRISON BREAKS. BUTTERBEAN was fairly solid at 10pm, but was shifted earlier to 8pm later in the month. Capitalizing on the better ratings, I ESCAPED was moved from 9pm to 10pm and continued to work well.
DATELINE ON ID and 48 HOURS ON ID had good months. Both series were up from July and above average for August. DEADLY WOMEN was about on par with the schedule, and up slightly from July.
What struggled? Not much. Monday nights were the low spot of the week with some weaker inventory series in the 8pm/9pm spots. TRUE GRIME, I ALMOST GOT AWAY WITH IT, and DISAPPEARED were on the bottom end of the list as well.
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
Network and independent press will variously describe ID as the fastest growing network over "X" period. While they might use different demos or date ranges, the essence of the message is what's important. Investigation Discovery, or ID for short, is on the rise. It may be on the digital platform, but don't underestimate it as a competitor with or commissioner of original programming. ID is very clearly both and plans to be for a long time.
Two areas we'll be watching are median age and advertising. Median age on ID is one of the oldest in the Cable U Top 30. No surprise for anyone that's followed this genre over the years. On the advertising side, younger viewers are always the key. A channel doesn't have to go MTV young, but a median age in the 40's is pretty important. ID has a ways to go before it see those numbers.
Attracting advertisers has consistently been the challenge with the crime genre. Strong audience figures are nice, but they need to translate into dollars. Non-fiction networks have always struggled with the right mix within their schedules. ID's schedule is 100% within the crime genre by definition. A challenge indeed.