Vh1 Analysis - October 2010

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OCTOBER 2010 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 in 2010.

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.

OCTOBER 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

P18-49

Monday 8-11pm

-53%

-57%

Tuesday 8-11pm

 -67%

-72%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-33%

-33%

Thursday 8-11pm

-33%

-38%

Friday 8-11pm

-38%

-44%

Saturday 8-11pm

-19%

-9%

Sunday 8-11pm

-30%

-37%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-41%

-45%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

VH1's stretch of year-to-year losses continued for an eleventh straight month, as October 2010's HH and A18-49 Ratings were barely more than half of those from the same month last year. October's delivery was also down slightly from last month, underlining the seriousness of the network's nearly year-long decline.

Every night experienced double-digit demo losses from the same month last year, with Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday especially worrisome. In addition to this 11-month streak of year-to-year losses, September's numbers give evidence of the continued ageing of VH1 as the Prime Median Age jumped 13% compared to last year, continuing a five-month streak representing an ongoing average double-digit increase in Median Age since June 2010.

A comparison of the average ratings for the top five series from October 2009 to this month's average shows a nearly 50% drop in HH and P18-49 rating from last year.

Series shuffled in and out throughout the month, with not one night seeing five regularly scheduled telecasts in the same time slot during the October survey. Only 14 of October's 21 time-slot hours had the same series scheduled at least twice during the five week survey.

Monday saw the premiere of BRET MICHAELS: LIFE AS I KNOW IT the last two weeks of October. While the premiere boasted HH and demo ratings more than double VH1's Prime average, benefiting from the lead-in provided by top-rated special (ROCK OF LOVE GIRLS: WHERE ARE THEY NOW, starring Michael's former co-stars,) delivery for episode two dropped over 50% below the premiere.  The low-rated lead-in provided by CELEBRITY CHEATERS may have contributed somewhat to this result.

Tuesday night as a whole was down by over 2/3 from last year for HH and demos, and declined sharply from last month, especially due to the Men demos drawn by a block of 100 GREATEST ARTISTS OF... episodes in September.

Wednesday's highlight was one of the 10pm runs of I LOVE MONEY 4, which doubled the monthly average rating for the series for HH and P18-49.

Nothing stood out  from Thursday's mixed bag of series episodes and specials, as the night was down by 1/3 in HH Rtg from last year. Both Wednesday and Thursday were down by modest double-digit percentages from September.

Friday lost nearly half of October 2009's demos, but was essentially flat with last month, except for a decline in male demos.

A run of the seasonal LOST BOYS topped Saturday's movie offerings, as the night was down somewhat from last year, but up by modest double-digits from last month.

Fresh episodes of FOOTBALL WIVES, FANTASIA FOR REAL 2 and LA LA'S FULL COURT WEDDING rotated in a variety of patterns on Sunday nights, earning VH1 its highest ratings of the week. Despite this, the network slid by modest double-digits in HH and demos from September, in addition to the steep drop from last year's numbers.

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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