A&E Analysis

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

A&E's primetime lineup features nearly 7 nights a week of original series in themed nights.  STORAGE WARS and spin-offs STORAGE WARS TEXAS continues to be a dominating force in the schedule, airing 4 times a week in December.  Crime is the theme for the Thursday night lineup, which features THE FIRST 48 and this month, saw the debut of PANIC 9-1-1.  Other reality originals air on Mondays, Wednesdays, Friday, while Sunday nights have shifted from scripted originals to more STORAGE.

DECEMBER PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

A18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

-18%

-6%

-5%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-34%

-44%

-35%

Wednesday 8-11pm

30%

82%

74%

Thursday 8-11pm

-2%

-15%

-12%

Friday 8-11pm

45%

80%

90%

Saturday 8-11pm

-6%

-4%

-6%

Sunday 8-11pm

-8%

-4%

-3%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-4%

2%

6%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

A&E's 2012 was a year filled with risks and mostly reward.  New series and programming genres were created and succeeded; viewers embraced new characters; the network successfully expanded itself to a broad-based entertainment platform.  With a primetime lineup comprised of nearly all original series, there is much more on the horizon for 2013 for the network.

December was a somewhat quiet month to close out 2012.  Overall numbers were down 4% compared to December 2011, but younger demos were up, and DUCK DYNASTY led Wednesdays and Fridays to massive year-to-year growth. The season finale of DUCK DYNASTY, on Wednesday, December 5, shattered ratings records for the network, drawing a "...massive audience of 6.5 million to become A&E’s most-watched telecast ever. The episode also set new A&E records in adults 18-49 (3.9 million), adults 25-54 (3.8 million) and 18-34 (2.0 million). Among adults 18-49 and 18-34, Duck Dynasty was the top show on Wednesday night — cable or broadcast." (Deadline.com, 12/7/12)

Mondays in December were down 18% in overall HH viewers compared to last year, and the younger demos were down as well. Mondays continue to be comprised of a lineup of more female-skewing programs - HOARDERS and INTERVENTION were both on the schedule on Mondays. HOARDERS saw an increase in viewers of 10% compared to December 2011, but nothing else on Monday night schedule really resonated.  A New Year's Eve marathon of DUCK DYNASTY failed to hit average.

Tuesday nights in December were also down from last year, with overall viewers dropping 34% compared to December 2011. The night is comprised completely of STORAGE WARS.  Despite a month full of new episodes, the series overall was down 25% compared to its performance last year, most likely a product of an over-reliance on the series in the primetime schedule.

Wednesdays in December were up 30% compared to last year, as DUCK DYNASTY and SHIPPING WARS rotated in primetime throughout the month. While SHIPPING scores above average, numbers couldn't come close to touching DUCK DYNASTY's stellar deliveries - in many cases, more than doubling (and even tripling in its finale on 12/5) average for overall HH viewers. DUCK DYNASTY drove Wednesday nights up strongly in the male demographics, and the night was the strongest of the week for A&E.

Thursday nights in December featured a lineup of A&E's signature crime show THE FIRST 48, paired with the new series PANIC 9-1-1. The night was down 2% in overall HH viewers compared to December 2011.  PANIC scored above average in its debut but fell in its second week, replaced by a more successful BEYOND SCARED STRAIGHT mid-month.

A normally crime-oriented schedule on Friday nights gave way to marathons of DUCK DYNASTY in December. Because of this scheduling change, Friday nights in December saw tremendous year-to-year growth, especially among the male demos.

Saturday and Sunday's lineups in December featured STORAGE WARS, STORAGE WARS TEXAS, and PARKING WARS.  Overall numbers were down moderately for both nights, though several episodes of STORAGE WARS outperformed average.

In 2013, expect to see more high-profiled scripted series from A&E, along with more unscripted series with big characters (the louder the better.)  Expect programs to skew more male than female, though A&E will make an effort to keep a balance.

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