MTV Analysis - July 2010

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JULY 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

MTV's schedule is constantly changing.  They usually have at least 3 nights of primetime first-run programs, while the other nights are either re-runs or other specials.  They fill gaps in the schedule by showing feature films and a few acquired series relevant to their audience.  The timeslots leading up to premieres are usually a marathon of episodes of weeks' past.  They rely on a lot of repetition in the form of marathons, especially on the weekends.  They also make good use of tent poling by scheduling longstanding reliable series like THE REAL WORLD at 10pm and new, untested content either right before or at 10:30 or 11pm.

JULY 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / July 2010 vs. July 2009  (% Change)

HH

M18-49

F18-49

P18-49

Monday 8-11pm

-11%

25%

-54%

-27%

Tuesday 8-11pm

75%

67%

133%

111%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-8%

-8%

0%

-6%

Thursday 8-11pm

-47%

-27%

-63%

-53%

Friday 8-11pm

-13%

-25%

-8%

-10%

Saturday 8-11pm

29%

14%

18%

22%

Sunday 8-11pm

0%

0%

0%

0%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-10%

0%

0%

10%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

July share was flat for MTV this year in households with a slight decrease in households.  MTV has had steady numbers for premiere nights with not much bad news to report with REAL WORLD, HARD TIMES and TEEN MOM all holding down their respective nights.  The TEEN MOM premiere at the end of the month, did exceptionaly well, beating THE HILLS series finale which aired the week before in the same timeslot.

The first season of HARD TIMES OF RJ BERGER, MTV's first new attempt at scripted material, did slightly above average numbers for the network.  Although Mondays were down from last year, the series saw an increase in audience week to week and the finale did very well.  A second season is on the way.  WARREN THE APE, the series that followed HARD TIMES did not capitalize on its lead in audience. 

The last season of THE HILLS and the latest of THE CITY continued to do well on MTV, though no longer bringing in the numbers from its peak seasons. The finale did very well in the demo.

The numbers this month did not account for the JERSEY SHORE premiere, which occured in July, but after the end of the Nielsen month.  That broadcast was highly successful, in fact it was the most watched cable telecast in 2010 for MTV's target demographic and subsequent episodes continue to put up good numbers. 

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

MTV is the mecca for all that's young and what's next.  Although the network no longer focuses exclusively on music (in fact, they dropped 'music television' from their logo), there is a distinct music flavor to the network, even when the shows (like THE REAL WORLD or THE HILLS) don't necessarily have anything 'musical' about them.  Often music is used to convey emotions and new bands can find their big break when one of their songs debuts on an MTV show. 

In 2009, MTV announced a shift in their programming.  They have begun to look for more positive and optimistic programs for the "Millennial" generation.  According to a recent press release, "Millennials have a great sense of optimism and are filled with a 'can-do' spirit that's infused into all areas of their lives."  Some of their new programs feature teens overcoming obstacles and helping make a difference in the world.  MTV also continues to invest in specials, especially live events, which is what brings the network the most buzz.  Also, the network, which previously featured mostly reality programming, has been investing in scripted series and movies.  For MTV, perhaps more than any other network, an interactive component is very important for programs to resonate with the audience.

Pitching to MTV is always tricky because they're never looking for something they already have.  In a recent interview, Tony DiSanto, President of Programming and Development explained "We're always looking for what's not on our air or, really, what's not on other networks. We really want to be 'disruptive': when you're flipping through the channels you're forced to stop on MTV, either through a really loud concept or an execution, approach or attitude. We really like to go left when everybody else goes right."

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