Travel Channel Performance/Schedule Analysis - May 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

 (Updated as of June 26, 2009)

CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMS:

ANTHONY BOURDAIN: NO RESERVATIONS (NON-FICTION)
The Indiana Jones of the food world, this chef/author/restauranteur/adventurer tours the world in search of gastronomic delights and quests.
Status: Currently airing.

BEST PLACES TO FIND CASH AND TREASURE (NON-FICTION)
Like emeralds, diamonds, artifacts, other valuable items and, well, treasures!
Status: On Hiatus

BIZARRE FOODS WITH ANDREW ZIMMERN (NON-FICTION)
Utilizing his knowledge of all things edible, Andrew Zimmern is on a quest to find the world's most bizarre foods.
Status: Currently airing.

BRIDGET'S BEACHES (NON-FICTION)
Hosted by Bridget Marquardt (THE GIRLS NEXT DOOR) as she travels the world's top beach locations.
Status: Premiered March, 2009.  Produced by Prometheus Entertainment.

DHANI TACKLES THE GLOBE (NON-FICTION)
NFL linebacker, Dhani Jones travels to different countries and immerses himself into the culture's specific sport.
Status: Premiered: March, 2009.   Produced by Red Line Films.

GHOST ADVENTURES (NON-FICTION)
Paranormal investigator, Zak Bagans and his crew, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin search for haunted locations both domestically and internationally.
Status: Season 2 premiered in June,2009. Produced by My Entertainment TV.

LIVING WITH THE KOMBAI TRIBE (NON-FICTION)
Mark and Olly are the guys who trek to remote corners of the world to learn about unique tribes and their culture.
Status: On Hiatus

MAN VS. FOOD (NON-FICTION)
Adam Richman sets out to travel the country in search of the best places to do some serious indulging.
Status: Season 1 completed; currently in repeats.

MOST HAUNTED (NON-FICTION)
One of the few acquisitions, inside haunted European locations and attempts to communicate with the dead.
Status: Currently airing.

PASSPORT WITH SAMANTHA BROWN (NON-FICTION)
One of the network's stars, Sam takes us to Europe this month.
Status: Currently airing.

MAY 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:   MAN V FOOD, BIZARRE FOODS, GHOST ADVENTURES, BITE ME W/ DR. MIKE, ANTHONY BOURDAIN

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

April was a particularly special-heavy month, as four hours of regularly scheduled series were replaced by one-offs or themed specials. ANTHONY BOURDAIN: NO RESERVATIONS, the well-established Monday night anchor series, now sandwiches the sports-themed DHANI TACKLES THE GLOBE at 9p; Tuesday is BIZARRE FOODS WITH ANDREW ZIMMERN; Wednesday has strong newcomer MAN V. FOODat 10p, following two hours of one-offs; Thursday offers beach specials leading into BRIDGET'S SEXIEST BEACHES; Friday is MOST HAUNTED and GHOST ADVENTURES, following an hour of specials; Saturday is a relatively new lineup of MAN V. FOOD, BRIDGET'S SEXIEST BEACHES and SAMANTHA BROWN'S PASSPORT TO ; and Sunday's now-completed Mark & Olly's  LIVING WITH THE TRIBE, has been replaced by stacks of episodes of established series or theme nights of specials.

UPCOMING PREMIERES:

**  June 23 - BITE ME WITH DR. MIKE

MAY 2009 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison:        
May 2009 vs. May 2008 (% change)       
                                    HH    A18-49    A25-54               
Monday 8-11pm          0%      7%           0%               
Tuesday 8-11pm       25%     31%         35%               
Wednesday 8-11pm  16%    31%        29%               
Thursday 8-11pm      -4%     17%        14%               
Friday 8-11pm             0%      18%        15%               
Saturday 8-11pm      -23%    50%        45%               
Sunday 8-11pm         -6%      -7%        -11%               
MTWTFSS 8-11pm       0%     15%        13%               

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

In a sweeps month, the network continues its string of year on year increases.  May makes nine consecutive months of year on year growth for Adults 18-49 and 25-54.  Total viewers are leveling off, as is median age.  Still they're about 10% younger than at this time last year and are safely within the under 50 demographic. 

Underneath all of the goods news, there are a few things worth keeping an eye on.  Only a couple of series are driving the growth.  Not unusual for any network, but always raises concerns if one of those pillars fades quickly.  In addition, the male skew is creeping closer to 60% than we might like to see for a network aimed at Adults overall.  Ideally, we would like to see the skew in the 55% range, hopefully by adding more women without losing any of the existing men.

Speaking of programs, ANDREW ZIMMERN remains the strongest series on the schedule.  A full month of premieres make it the highest rated series for the month.  The repeats stacked up on Tuesdays were mixed, starting slow at 8pm, building some at 9pm, before the 10pm premiere jumps significantly.  Overuse?  Probably not yet.

MAN VS FOOD was stellar during a premiere run the last couple of months.  However, with the series in reruns for May, audiences fell back to earth, losing about 20% from April.  Despite the drop, audiences were right about the network average.  A good indicant that the concept has some legs for the future.

GHOST ADVENTURES was an interesting story.  An all repeat line-up, with little promotion and no stunting, on the lower HUT Friday night, still managed to carry the network averages for the month.  9pm started a little slow with 10pm picking up the pace. 

Long running ANTHONY BOURDAIN was up nicely over last year, although down from April.  Ironically, Monday's 8pm run was much stronger than Monday at 10pm.  More likely a result of the weak 9pm lead-in than anything else.

DHANI TACKLES THE GLOBE is that aforementioned lead-in.  Three weeks of premieres finishes out the first season run for the globetrotting adventure series.  Sandwiching the new property between airings of BOURDAIN looked good at the outset, but quickly devolved into a liability.  Not only was DHANI underperforming, but it weakened a second timeslot at 10pm in the aftermath.  A second season has already been ordered.  Hopefully there's some rework planned for the offseason to give this one a fresh start.

BRIDGET'S SEXIEST BEACHES offered a couple weeks of premieres in May.  Numbers were steady but lower than network averages.  Adult demo deliveries were down big time from April.  Editorially, the series is everything you would expect based on the title.  Practically, it could probably a use a steady lead-in with some compatability.  The last two weeks of month the lead-in felt a little disconnected and the ratings hurt a bit as a result.

A group of specials with an "extreme" theme  premiered on Wednesdays across the month with very nice results.  Three of the five (RESTAURANTS, FAST FOOD, ROADSIDE ADVENTURE) landed in the Top 20 network telecasts for the month.


PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

None announced

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

MAN V. FOOD, BRIDGET'S SEXIEST BEACHES, DHANI TACKLES THE GLOBE, SAMANTHA BROWN'S GREAT WEEKENDS, MARK & OLLY: LIVING WITH ..., ANTHONY BOURDAIN: NO RESERVATIONS, BEST PLACES TO FIND CASH AND TREASURES, BIZARRE FOODS WITH ANDREW ZIMMERN, MOST HAUNTED, NOT YOUR AVERAGE TRAVEL GUIDE, TASTE OF AMERICA, 1,000 PLACES TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE.

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None this month.

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