Vh1 Analysis - May 2010

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MAY 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

VH1 continues to have success with home-grown series, often built around Reality "stars" from earlier series (e.g. NEW YORK GOES TO WORK featuring a former FLAVOR 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 their original series. Episodes of new series tend to receive multiple Prime plays during the week each episode premieres.

Music-oriented fare continues to make its presence felt on VH1, with survey-oriented specials (100 GREATEST...) joining occasional new epsiodes of the venerable BEHIND THE MUSIC series, along with concert specials and documentaries.

MAY 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / May 2010 vs. May 2009  (% Change)

HH

P18-49

Monday 8-11pm

-54%

-54%

Tuesday 8-11pm

 -33%

-30%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-26%

-21%

Thursday 8-11pm

-11%

5%

Friday 8-11pm

-16%

0%

Saturday 8-11pm

-17%

-4%

Sunday 8-11pm

-11%

-2%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-30%

-24%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

VH1's stretch of year-to-year losses stretched to a sixth straight month as May 2010's HH Rtg was barely 2/3 of that from last May and RP18-49 was down by nearly a quarter. With the exception of Thursdays, every night experienced double-digit HH or demo losses from the same month last year, with Monday losing over half of last year's viewers  for the second month in a row.. Delivery was flat compared with April. In addition to this 6-month streak of year-to-year losses, May's numbers give evidence of the continued ageing of VH1 as the Prime Median Age jumped 11% compared to last year.

Series shuffled in and out throughout the month, with not one time period enjoying a consistent occupant in May.

May featured the debut of stunt mini-series UNDATEABLE, which ran the week of 5/11. All told, it equalled the Prime HH Rtg for May, while underdelivering the average RP18-49 by 12%.

Monday features TOUGH LOVE COUPLES 8-11p, mixed in with series repeats and the occasional special. Although up slightly from last month, the night now delivers fewer than half the numbers of May 2009.

Tuesday's highlight was the finale of the off-Logo series RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE, which led the pack in May, and was replaced by BRANDI & RAY J repeats at 9pm. The night as a whole was down sharply from last year but grew somewhat in male demos from last month.

Wednesday features a mixed bag of specials, mini-series, movies and series repeats. Nothing stood out in May, and the night was down significantly from last year, with Men down and Women up modestly from last month.

The finale of SOBER HOUSE 2 was the top offering on Thursday. A mixed bag of series repeats and special filled out the remainder of the month, leading to May's only gain in demos over 2009. Delivery was down by significant double-digits from April.
Friday suffered modest double-digit HH losses from last year, but was flat with April. Nothing in particular stood out on this night.

Nothing stood out for Movie-centric Saturday either, as the night was down somewhat from last year but up sharply in Women demos from April.

Sunday was by far the highest-rated night for VH1 in May, with premiere episodes of BRANDY & RAY J, BASKETBALL WIVES and WHAT CHILLI WANTS drawing more than twice the number of female viewers compared to any other night .  

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.

Important:

VH1's Celebreality hits have received a lot of attention and ratings success. 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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