TBS Analysis - August 2011

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AUGUST 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Monday night starts the week with a strong FAMILY GUY block. Tuesdays are once again where THE OFFICE can be found. Wednesday is the female skewing night, with Tyler Perry programming and ARE WE THERE YET? bringing women and African-American viewers to the network. Thursday and Friday are mostly about movies, with FAMILY GUY occasionally leading in or out. Weekend prime is also all about movies, but can house network specials as well.

AUGUST 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

LIVE PRIMETIME RATINGS COMPARISON August 2011 vs. August 2010 (% Change)

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

 -25%

  -24%

-18%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-14%

    0%

-13%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-33%

  -26%

-39%

Thursday 8-11pm

 -28%

   -4%

-25%

Friday 8-11pm

-16%

    2%

-16%

Saturday 8-11pm

-34%

   -30%

-23%

Sunday 8-11pm

  0%

    6%

  2%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-22%

  -12%

-21%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

AUGUST 2011:  They say all PR is good PR, but how good is it when The New York Times says you are “arguably the most notable decline on cable this summer.” With double digit drops again this month, TBS has earned that dubious mention. The winter months following MLB are usually when TBS reaches its ratings peak, but summer is still important, and this summer saw dramatic declines. In August, household ratings dropped by 22% from last year while core men 18-49 dropped 12% and women dropped 21%. The good news is that ratings were up slightly (6% on demo) from last month’s lows, showing there is some potential for recovery.

The biggest blow to TBS came with FAMILY GUY. The network depends on the animated sitcom…it is the best-rated and youngest-skewing program on the limited primetime line-up. TBS gave up trying to find an animated companion for FAMILY GUY, and it now runs alone on Monday nights, producing TBS’ highest rated night of the week. This August the program dropped 16% of adults 18-49 vs. year ago and 9% vs. last month – tough blows to recover from.

On Tuesdays male-skewing THE OFFICE held onto last year’s male audiences while improving July’s men 18-49 ratings by 13%.  THE OFICE is very targeted toward younger men, overdelivering that demo while underdelivering on households and women. It would make a fine lead-in to a niche program, if TBS had one to offer.

Wednesdays are for women with Tyler Perry fare. But that franchise has been fading since HOUSE OF PAYNE and MEET THE BROWNS hit wide-spread syndication, and this month we saw Wednesday nights take a 39% drop vs. August 2010’s women 18-49 ratings.  MEET THE BROWNS fell by 52% while HOUSE OF PAYNE dropped 15% of its core ratings.

The rest of the week was all about movies. They did better this month than in the recent past, with Friday through Sunday growing 18-49 ratings by double digits vs. last month.  Thursday through Sunday numbers are off vs. last year, but not as badly as the Monday through Wednesday sitcoms. The leading movies of August were Wedding Crashers, 17 Again and Yes Man.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

There wasn’t much good news for TBS this summer, and despite the declining audiences, there isn’t much hope for the near future. THE BIG BANG THEORY is coming this fall as a lead-in to CONAN two nights a week, at a price to TBS of $2 million per episode. A couple of new programs have been announced for summer 2012, and the network is in active development on half hour comedies. Movie acquisition has been quiet as competitors FX and USA snap up the big titles produced by their respective parent companies. CONAN, the anointed tone-setter, is struggling in latenight while LOPEZ TONIGHT has been cancelled. “Conan personifies the smart funny tone that we want TBS to have,” says Steve Koonin. “His program is the signature show of our line-up and the centerpiece of our network.”

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