Spike TV Analysis - November 2009

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THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER and other UFC-related series and specials pop up a lot in different days/time slots, occupying at least 1/3 of the Prime grid, and figuring prominently among the top-rated vehicles each month. Sports entertainment series TNA IMPACT generally holds one of the top spots in HH and key demo delivery each month. Other factual series usually deal with physical competition or risk.

Spike is, however, retooling its original-series strategy.  Spike will be focusing its development slate on comedy as well as drama, in addition to their library of action movies and stunts.   Spike has also recently made a serious commitment to off-network movie product as they have beefed up their acquisition purchases with movie franchises Rambo and the Star Wars saga.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / November 2009 vs. November 2008  (% 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




Style looks for programs that tell a great story and have memorable characters in unique circumstances.  In the upcoming year they will be looking for docu-series, makeover, home, and weigh loss formats.

While Style remains a niche offering--the network averaged 170,000 prime time viewers in the third quarter--it's a strong buy for clients looking to reach upscale females, and the network is showing steady growth among its core demo. In Q3, Style's prime time deliveries of W18-49 were up 8 percent versus the year-ago period, while October has seen the demo rise 17 percent.  Style is also the most female-skewing cable network, as women account for 81 percent of its total audience.  Given the network's clearly-defined target demo and expanding footprint--by year's end, it should pass the 60 million subscriber mark.

"Style is such a broad concept and so many of our shows touch on a number of different layers," Coleman Smith said. "It's not superficial or exclusionary, and that makes us relevant to a much wider base of advertisers."

The Style Network continues to take action in the fight against breast cancer with a reinvigorated campaign under the banner "Fight with Style." The year-round initiative expands this fall to include new celebrity PSAs, extensive online content and unique on-air features.  In addition, Style is teaming up with Jennifer Fisher Jewelry to encourage viewers to purchase a custom-designed necklace in support of breast cancer awareness and City of Hope, a leading cancer research, treatment and education center.

Currently, the balance between original programs and acquisitions for the network is 80% original, 20% acquisitions. But as the channel rounds the corner of this year there are plans to take a different spin on its acquisitions strategy. Part of that change involves adding more movies and, specifically, made for TV movies, to the schedule.  Style Network's acquisition plans also include looking for more one- and two-hour documentaries to run on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Even with the addition of films to the channel, the focus will still be on series.  One of the most important things for producers to understand is what Style considers to be its unique take on female lifestyle programming. Katie Buchanan states: "Although there's duplication between us and TLC, WEtv, Oxygen and Bravo just by virtue of the fact that we all skew very female, we [believe we] stand out from those networks in terms of being a place where women can go to get real advice, be entertained and find a way to be inspired.  Telling a good story is always a good thing, but sometimes it's nice to sit back and have someone tell you that you look pretty. It makes people feel good, and that's something that is a cornerstone of our brand." (Realsceen 8/19/09)

Style is officially strutting away from runway-based, high fashion-oriented programming in favor of more inspirational content that focuses on the triumps and trials of ordinary women.  As part of the network's transformation, Style has introduced a new tagline, "Before Meets After." The tagline better reflects content from their shows KIMORA: LIFE IN THE FAST LANE and RUBY.  According to network president Salaam Coleman Smith, Style is placing a greater emphasis on the life changes and issues of ordinary women, which have helped the network draw record numbers of viewers.  "We became much more character and story-driven, and by shifting to more character- and story-driven shows, we really also developed a connection to our audience that was far more enduring.