JUNE 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.
JUNE 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / June 2011 vs. June 2010 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
The darling of the Discovery portfolio has another big month. Year on year increases are 75% or more in all of the key demos. Competitively in actual delivery of A25-54 , it's beating veteran networks like OWN and Nat Geo and is on par with Animal Planet and Travel.
However, two stats to keep an eye on. Median age is one of the oldest out there. And the female skew was more than 2/3 female in June. Neither one is a major issue when the overall increases are close to triple digits, but they will create some speed bumps down the road.
Top series of the month was also the newest. DEVIL YOU KNOW came out with back to back episodes on Wednesday at 10pm with stellar numbers. Even better, week two was barely down from premiere week, a good sign of sustainability. End result, Wednesday is one of the strongest nights on the schedule for June.
Sunday was the top night of the week, led once again by ON THE CASE BY PAULA ZAHN. PAULA was in full premiere mode for the month at 10pm. 48 HOURS ON ID also held its own in the 8-10pm block.
BEHIND MANSION WALLS debuted on Mondays at 10pm and landed the number two spot for the month. There was a steady decrease from week one to week three, but overall MANSION stayed above the pack.
Aphrodite Jones got a good deal of attention on the news channels during the Casey Anthony trial. Unfortunately, it didn't translate to her Thursday night series on this channel. TRUE CRIME WITH APHRODITE JONES was down more than 25% from May.
I ALMOST GOT AWAY WITH IT, DATELINE ON ID, and FBI: CRIMINAL PURSUIT all had a pretty good month. Not so much for COLD BLOOD and UNUSUAL SUSPECTS.
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.