A&E Analysis

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

A&E's primetime lineup features 7 nights a week of original series in themed nights.  STORAGE WARS and spin-offs STORAGE WARS TEXAS and SHIPPING WARS continues to be a dominating force in the schedule, back up to 4 times a week in September, with appearances on additional nights.  Crime is the theme for the Thursday night lineup, which features THE FIRST 48.  Other reality originals air on Mondays and Fridays.  Sunday nights have shifted from scripted originals to more STORAGE.  High-profile miniseries COMA aired Monday 9/3 and Tuesday 9/4.

SEPTEMBER PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live+SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / September 2012 vs. September 2011 (% Change)

HH

A18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

5%

4%

8%

Tuesday 8-11pm

79%

62%

73%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-41%

-47%

-41%

Thursday 8-11pm

-15%

-28%

-28%

Friday 8-11pm

-18%

-13%

4%

Saturday 8-11pm

-4%

-16%

-14%

Sunday 8-11pm

-9%

12%

21%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-11%

-13%

-8%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

The downward ratings trend that began in August has continued into September for A&E.  Following an extremely strong summer, including the "most watched June in network history among adults 25-54, adults 18-49, and in total viewers" (AETN Press, 6/26/12), as well as a solid July, both September and August were somewhat transitional months for A&E.  Overall HH viewers were down 11% in September, and key demos took hits compared to 2011 as well.  Men 18-49 and Men 25-54 were down compared to last year 6% and 2%, respectively.   Female demos took even more significant hits.  A over-reliance on STORAGE WARS and its sister shows, and very few premieres are the likely culprits.  Here's how it broke down, night by night:

Mondays in September saw moderate increases compared to last year.  Overall viewers were up 5%.  The night is comprised of female-skewing shows including INTERVENTION and STORAGE WARS, both of which over-index average in key female demographics.  Still, the night was flat among Females 18-49, and only up 4% in Females 25-54 compared to September of last year.  COMA, A&E's high-profile mini-series debuted on Monday 9/3 to above-average numbers.  A repeat directly following attracted only a fraction of the viewers - an interested scheduling choice for the network.

Tuesday nights in September saw the most dramatic year-to-year growth compared to any other night of the week.  Up 79% in overall HH viewers, the night was also up significantly across both male and female demographics, driving Tuesdays to be the #1 night of the week for A&E.  New episodes of STORAGE WARS and SHIPPING WARS over-indexed overall averages as well as in key younger male and female demos.  Part 2 of COMA aired on Tuesday 9/4 and while it scored just above numbers, the special didn't come close to scoring STORAGE or SHIPPING's numbers.

Wednesdays in September saw more STORAGE WARS and STORAGE WARS TEXAS paired with AMERICAN HOGGERS in the 10pm slot.  Numbers were down significantly from September 2011, as somewhat tired reruns weren't able to pull the same audiences as Tuesday's premieres.  Still, most the airings hit or exceeded average in both key male and female demographics.  AMERICAN HOGGERS audience grew from week to week as well, and the night remains among the strongest of the week.

Thursday nights in September featured a lineup of A&E's signature crime show THE FIRST 48.  The night was down 15% in overall HH viewers compared to September 2011.  The show itself is showing signs of wear - overall viewers are down 8% compared to last year - however, it is up in younger male demos who might just be catching on to this crime series.  Thursdays are the youngest-skewing of the week for A&E.

Friday nights in September featured stacked episodes of CRIMINAL MINDS.  The night was down 18% compared to last year, and was the weakest of the week for A&E.

Saturday and Sunday's lineups in September featured stacked episodes of STORAGE WARS, STORAGE WARS TEXAS, and SHIPPING WARS.  Overall numbers were down both nights compared to September 2011, though Sunday's stacked STORAGE WARS scored above-average throughout the night.

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