Vh1 Analysis - April 2011

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APRIL 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

VH1 continues to concentrate on home-grown series, often built around Reality "stars" from earlier series (e.g. DAISY OF LOVE featuring a former ROCK OF LOVE contestant.) VH1's Primetime lineup is very fluid in nature, leading to a lot of "Various" programs on their schedule grid.

VH1 will occasionally stack night of programming and air episodes of the same show back-to-back-to-back.  This can prove extremely successful for them, especially when they use these mini-marathons to premiere the latest episodes of a successful original series. Episodes of new series tend to receive multiple Prime plays during the week each episode premieres. This fluid approach to scheduling, however can take its toll on viewer loyalty, as the lack of a discernible schedule on many nights seems to have harmed viewership over the last two years.

Music-oriented fare continues to make its presence felt on VH1, with survey-oriented specials (100 GREATEST...) joining occasional new episodes of the venerable BEHIND THE MUSIC series, along with concert specials and documentaries. Urban-appeal theatrical films, many with strong musical components, are also delivering above-average ratings to the Network

APRIL 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / April 2011 vs. April 2010  (% Change)

HH

P18-49

Monday 8-11pm

0%

0%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-15%

-11%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-7%

-6%

Thursday 8-11pm

-56%

-60%

Friday 8-11pm

-12%

-11%

Saturday 8-11pm

-14%

-11%

Sunday 8-11pm

-28%

-25%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-20%

-23%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

After March showed a turnaround to near compatibility with last year's demo delivery, April saw a return to the network's recent pattern of year-to-year losses. Only Monday and Wednesday nights avoided significant HH and A18-49 Ratings declines. Overall HH and demo delivery was down slightly from last month.

After significant losses over the last two months, Monday in April was flat against last year and last month.  Premiere episodes of LOVE & HIP HOP and BEVERLY HILLS FABULOUS debuted in the 8pm hour and then repeated in the 10pm hour, earning similar ratings, and finishing as the #2 and #3 series this month, behind MOB WIVES.

Tuesday night as a whole was down slightly for HH and P18-49 ratings from last year, but up  in Women demos. None of the series repeats stood out on this night.

Movies, specials and series repeats combined to lead Wednesday to an overall delivery nearly equal with last year and last month. A repeat of the premiere episode of MOB WIVES was the top draw for this night.

The block of hour-long episodes of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE  that settled in on Thursday in November 2010 continue to lose steam, leading to the steepest annual decline for the month.  Only one of April's episodes equaled the Prime average for HH or the key demo, both of which were down slightly from the same line-up in February.

Friday was down modestly from last year and last month for HH and A18-49. The mixed-bag schedule featured Movies, specials and series repeats, with another repeat of the premiere episode of MOB WIVES earning top honors this night.

Saturday's demo delivery was also down modestly from last year, but up sharply from March for Men demos. A run of FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF and a Will Ferrell-themed SNL episode contributed to the demo growth.

Despite the debut of three new series in Week 3, Sunday lost a quarter of last year's and last month's HH and A18-49. MOB WIVES scored the highest individual and average ratings for the month. Although 9pm AUDRINA debuted with higher ratings than its SADDLE RANCH lead-out, AUDRINA's HH ratings declined by 1/3 for week 2; SADDLE RANCH  and MOB WIVES each retained 84% of their debut week's rating.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

VH1 has been extremely successful in the creation of an entirely new genre of programming.  Coining the phrase Celebreality, Vh1 has created several hit shows revolving around celebrities, past and present, and their "real" lives.

So now, the task at hand is to determine how they can expand beyond what's expected - and reach out to an even broader audience.  It's great to have programs that are celebrity-based, but anything that has amazing characters, tells a good story, and does it in a compelling way, is going to interest the net. Recently, VH1 has expanded into the original M.O.W. realm, with their first original feature being produced by Queen Latifah's production company, Favor Unit. Flavor Unit is also producing VH1's first scripted drama, based on the same characters as the M.O.W.

Important:

VH1's Celebreality hits have received a lot of attention and ratings success in the past. The network, however, continues to expand upon their brand to bring unique documentaries and interesting pop culture and music-related series to air.

VH1 has said that they are actively looking for documentaries in their ROCK DOC block.  They are looking for "intimate stories," "iconic characters" (namely 60s and 70s icons), and intelligent documentaries that aren't afraid to take chances.  Think "big stories" told through a "small narrative," too.

In addition, they're looking to expand beyond just Celebreality.  TOOL ACADEMY and THE PICK-UP ARTIST were fairly big successes for the network and they're looking for the next version of those series.

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