A&E Analysis

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

December 2011 continued A&E’s STORAGE WARS-heavy schedule.  The month saw stacked episodes of the hit series 3 nights of the week – Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.  December saw the debut of STORAGE WARS: TEXAS in the Tuesday 10:30pm slot. Monday nights continue to skew more female with HOARDERS and INTERVENTION (though November’s MONSTER IN-LAWS did not show up on the December schedule.  On nights when storage isn’t on the menu, it’s crime.

DECEMBER 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

A18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

3%

-13%

-5%

Tuesday 8-11pm

128%

132%

118%

Wednesday 8-11pm

11%

-14%

-3%

Thursday 8-11pm

2%

10%

10%

Friday 8-11pm

-27%

-3%

-22%

Saturday 8-11pm

18%

-5%

7%

Sunday 8-11pm

53%

15%

12%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

23%

17%

16%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Another month, another opportunity to film people storing stuff.  December continued November’s trend of a heavy STORAGE WARS schedule (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays) and saw the debut of spin-off STORAGE WARS: TEXAS on Tuesday nights.

The show continues to dominate A&E’s primetime schedule with 61 episodes airing throughout the month, and there doesn’t seem to be any hint that the show is tiring out.  Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are the strongest nights of the week for A&E, and STORAGE WARS took 18 of the top 20 telecasts for the month (only Stephen King’s BAG OF BONES managed to also make the list.)  And, the show is up 21% in households compared to year-ago numbers, and 18% from last month.

And the overall numbers for A&E are following suit.  Coming off of “the best November in network history,” (according to network press), December’s numbers are even better than November’s.  Overall, the network is up 17% from last month, seeing audience growth nearly every night of the week, and across all key demos.  Compared to December 2010, the network is up 23%, and across all key demos as well.

Tuesday night saw even more dramatic year–to-year growth, up 128% from last year as the STORAGE WARS trend continues to grow.  Numbers across all key demos saw triple-digit jumps.  The addition of spin-off series STORAGE WARS: TEXAS was a good one, and debut numbers on Tuesday nights at 10:30 were nearly double average.

Saturday night’s lineup also saw big year-to-year numbers with stacked episodes of STORAGE WARS – overall, the night was up 53% compared to last year.  As we’ve said, it is no wonder that all of the other networks are looking for their own versions of the hit show.

Wednesday night was flat from a month ago, with newcomer LADY HOGGERS still on the schedule.  The show, which was #8 for A&E this month, took a bit of a hit since its debut last month, dropping 18% from November.

Mondays and Fridays continue to struggle for the network.  Monday’s HOARDERS and INTERVENTION posted below-average numbers, but BAG OF BONES from Stephen King hit a solid note, scoring well above average for female demos.  CRIMINAL MINDS continues to be a Friday night staple, though it’s clear the franchise is tiring.  Episodes of BEYOND SCARED STRAIGHT also failed to hit average on Fridays.

Overall, a positive way to close out the year for A&E.  Strong programming choices, a consistent schedule, and quick decisions have driven the network into the top 10 cable nets.  STORAGE WARS has been the driving force for ’11, as it is the perfect storm of plot + characters + stakes + reveal = all the key elements of a great show that viewers like to watch.  Look for more in 2012.

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