MTV Analysis - June 2010



* Bold denotes programming change


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.


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





Monday 8-11pm





Tuesday 8-11pm





Wednesday 8-11pm





Thursday 8-11pm





Friday 8-11pm





Saturday 8-11pm





Sunday 8-11pm





MTWTFSS 8-11pm





Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
June share was flat for MTV this year in households with a slight increase in share in the target demo of People 18-49.  The increase has less to do with consistant strong programming than with a large successful special, the MTV MOVIE AWARDS.  The awards program, which was in May last year, performed well enough on second and third runs in the weeks following, making it a success for the month of June, though it didn't quite match last year's record breaking numbers.

With the premiere of HARD TIMES OF RJ BERGER and WARREN THE APE, the big question for this month was whether or not scripted series would again succeed at MTV.  So far the results have been mixed, though it might be too soon to tell.  Both series premiered in the middle of the month.  HARD TIMES had a respectable premiere, while WARREN THE APE did not capitalize on its lead in audience. The drop in audience numbers between HARD TIMES and WARREN THE APE may be due to how different the two programs are.  HARD TIMES is a coming of age series while WARREN THE APE is a raunchy comedy with a puppet as the star.  Monday nights in the demo were down -25% from last year.  This is compared to RUN'S HOUSE, the family-centric reality series that had several successful seasons at MTV and was doing well last June. 

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 REAL WORLD CHALLENGE finished out the season down a bit in the numbers from last year. These challenges, which have spun off of THE REAL WORLD traditionally do better than the original, attracting more males.


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."