TruTV Performance/Schedule Analysis - September 2008

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of October 19, 2008)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

Adults 18-49, Adults 25-54.

SEPTEMBER 2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

MOST SHOCKING, SMOKING GUN PRESENTS, INSIDE, VACATION DISASTERS, INSIDE, COPS, SPEEDERS, HOT PURSUIT, SURF & RESCUE

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:

AUGUST to SEPTEMBER:

Monday - entire night changes for the second straight month; SURF & RESCUE: DEWEY BEACH debuts with back to back episodes at 8pm; repeats of PARTY HEAT fill in at 9pm and a run of DISORDER IN THE COURT specials rounds things out at 10pm

Wednesday - MOST DARING takes over the 8pm slot from MOST SHOCKING; LA STRINGERS ends a short run at 10pm, replaced by an inventory mix

Saturday - a two hour block of DOMINICK DUNNE repeats enters from 9-11pm

Sunday - MOST SHOCKING drops back an hour to 10pm, clearing the way for back to back episodes of HOT PURSUIT in the 9pm timeslot

PREMIERES:

** September 8th - SURF & RESCUE: DEWEY BEACH

OCTOBER AND BEYOND:

PREMIERES:

** October 16th - SPEEDERS FIGHT BACK
** October 20th - SKI PATROL
** December 8th - MAUI CHOPPER


YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

The network press announced this 3rd quarter was its most watched ever in prime time for men 18-49 and 25-54.  Good news for the channel as it continues the transition to a male targeted schedule.

For September, the numbers show very small gains in men over last year, and very large drops in women.  Net effect is an overall loss of about 10% in the key adult demos.

Network execs cite their satisfaction with the shifts, but we see some warning signs underneath those numbers.  Compared to August and the Olympics, men fell off 3-5%.  We would have expected a slight rise with no competition from Beijing.  In addition, overall male skew in prime has dropped the last couple of months and now sits at the 50% mark.  Probably needs to be nearer to the 55% range to capitalize on the momentum across the schedule.  Newer series continue to struggle in gaining traction.  That's got to change for the growth to continue.

SEPTEMBER 2008 RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Mondays come out of the gate in reasonably good shape.  Men 18-49 are up slightly from last year, while the 25-54 group are down just a bit.  General fade across the same demos from August is more disturbing right now.  SURF & RESCUE debuted to some decent male numbers and then faded in subsequent weeks.  It didn't hold up to last year's beach offering, OCEAN RESCUE. 

Tuesdays fell dramatically from last year as the COPS franchise disappeared from viewers' radars.  The stalwart series was off by 2/3 from last year's performances in the same time slot.  Not good.  A couple of DISORDER IN THE COURT insert specials salvaged the night, as it finishes right around the network averages for the month.

Wednesdays were more like the channel's recent outings.  Men were up, women were down, as the conversion from crime to reality takes over the night.  Last month's premiere series LA STRINGERS didn't cut it and was yanked from the 10pm slot.  Couple of VACATION DISASTER specials and runs of MOST DARING held up the rest of the month.

Thursdays follow pattern with men up and women down.  SPEEDERS does well with the key male 25-54 crowd.  Jury is still out on the PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE.  Premieres have some decent outings and some poor ones.  The only repeat episode tanked, something to watch as more repeats appear on the schedule in October. 

Friday and Saturday appear to be stuck in the past.  Demo numbers are the lowest on the schedule, roughly 30% below the network's averages for the month.  Most of the newer product has been focused earlier in the week, leaving these two nights to survive with older inventory and repeats.  Consider it a project for the future.

Sundays are holding up but this is another night with signs of concern.  Men are up from last year which is good.  However, they're down slightly from August.  Not quite a trend just yet.  Premiere episode of HOT PURSUIT anchored the night, but overall all of the content held steady with the audiences.  That includes COPS, which was much better here than its Tuesday runs.

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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