TruTV Performance/Schedule Analysis - October 2008

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of November 21, 2008)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

Adults 18-49, Adults 25-54.

OCTOBER 2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

MOST SHOCKING, SMOKING GUN PRESENTS, COPS, SPEEDERS, HOT PURSUIT, OPERATION REPO, SPEEDERS FIGHT BACK, BEACH PATROL

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Original series dominate TruTV's primetime schedule.  The only acquired program is COPS. Since most of their series provide a different take in the area of criminal law and justice, there are no thematic evenings distinct from one another, rather a relatively even distribution of original series.  A heavy reliance on FORENSIC FILES and a handful of other series dominates the schedule.   

As new series are introduced to the schedule, the network created a few generic slots across the week for repeats.  The additional exhibitions in short bursts of 2-4 weeks give their new titles a chance to gain recognition with the casual viewer.  When a series does break out, like MOST SHOCKING, they have moved it into a regular timeslot.

With the transition of the network to TruTv at the beginning of 2008, the crime and investigation focus has been replaced with a broader, non-fiction/reality mix of programs.  While the existing base of crime series continues, new programming explores topics as diverse as oil wildcatters, con artists, and tornado chasers.

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

SEPTEMBER to OCTOBER:

Monday - entire night changes for the third straight month; BEACH PATROL and SKI PATROL share the 8pm block; repeats of SMOKING GUN PRESENTS move in at 9pm; an inventory mix rounds out the night at 10pm;

Tuesday - a combination of COPS and INSIDE run across the night in various stacked patterns

Wednesday - MOST SHOCKING re-enters the schedule at 8pm and 10pm, sandwiching the ongoing MOST DARING in the process;

Thursday - SPEEDERS FIGHT BACK debuts at 8:30, forming a nice block with the 8pm SPEEDERS; SMOKING GUN PRESENTS moves in at 9pm creating a two hour block of the comedy clip show

Friday - two more repeats of FORENSIC FILES take over at 10pm, making it a two hour block for the night;

Saturday - DOMINICK DUNNE gets knocked out for inventory repeats at 9pm and HAUNTED EVIDENCE at 10pm;

Sunday - HOT PURSUIT is gone and another exhibition of COPS is back at 9pm;

PREMIERES:

** October 16th - SPEEDERS FIGHT BACK
** October 20th - SKI PATROL

NOVEMBER AND BEYOND:

PREMIERES:

** December 8th - MAUI CHOPPER

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

Last month we cautioned there were warning signs in the numbers, particularly the decreasing male skew in the target age breaks.  It appears those cautions were on target.  The network's male skew fell below 50% in the 18-49 demo for the first time since the transition to the new brand.  Moreover, the 25-54 demo was right at the 50% mark, the lowest male skew since the conversion.  Unfortunately, they arrived here by losing men these last few months, not by increasing women.  Further, with most new series struggling to hold an audience, we're not sure how quickly the schedule will recover.

The overall impact shows the network losing men from year ago numbers for the first time in 2008.  M18-49 are down 9%.  Men 25-54 are down 13%.  Adults 18-49 and 25-54 are also down, 6% and 15% respectively. 

OCTOBER 2008 RATINGS ANALYSIS: Monday actually bumps up a notch from last year in the target male demos.  Credit a couple of repeat airings of SMOKING GUN PRESENTS.  On the downside, SKI PATROL finally hits the schedule after a six month wait and immediately becomes the lowest rated series on the schedule.  Editorially, it's BEACH PATROL on the slopes.  The kind of series that needs unique characters or a great story.  It has neither and low audiences are the result.

Tuesdays just got tired.  Old repeats of COPS and INSIDE didn't cut it this time around.  It's indicative of the network's overall challenges right now.

Wednesdays are still above average for the net, but fading.  Numbers are down by single digits from last year, as well as a larger than normal fade from the prior month.  All of this occurred with premiere eps of MOST SHOCKING and MOST DARING throughout the month.  If it was repeats, fine.  Premieres?  Another warning sign of tiring content.

Thursdays buck the trend, showing 20% increases in men from last year.  Highlights include premiere episodes of SMOKING GUNS PRESENTS and the series debut of SPEEDERS FIGHT BACK.  In its rookie month, SPEEDERS FIGHTS BACK becomes a top five series for the net, bringing a 30% plus increase in target men.  And, it's a very good companion to the lead-in, SPEEDERS.  Keep those guys together please.

Friday and Saturday continue to occupy the bottom of the pile.  Older series, mostly repeats, female skew.  Premiere episodes of HAUNTING EVIDENCE did make an appearance on Saturdays, an appropriate move for Halloween month.  Unfortunately, it did little to earn a renewal in the new world, drawing just half of the network average for target men. 

Sundays aren't a major issue yet, even with a drop in men from last year in the mid teens .  COPS still does better here than on Tuesday, but the general female skew doesn't bode well for a network concentrating on a male target. 

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

None announced.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

None announced.

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

HAUNTING EVIDENCE, BEACH PATROL, HOLLYWOOD HEAT, NORTH MISSION ROAD, SUBURBAN SECRETS

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