In November, A&E clearly had one focused programming strategy – air STORAGE WARS as much as possible. This month saw stacked episodes of the hit series 3 nights of the week – Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturday. New shows aired in the 10pm slot on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays with key established series serving as lead-ins. It seems Monday nights are skewing more female with a lineup of HOARDERS and newcomer MONSTER-IN LAWS. On nights when storage isn’t the them, it’s crime.
NOVEMBER 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / November 2011 vs. November 2010 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
What A&E uncovered in November was clearly the new trend of the season – storing stuff. Not only did STORAGE WARS dominate November’s primetime schedule (60 primetime hours – the next closest was CRIMINAL MINDS with only 21 runs), but the ratings remained strong throughout the month. 17 of the top telecasts this month was STORAGE WARS (though not too hard a feat considering it was on most of the time.)
Overall, a strong month for A&E. According to network press, this was their “best November in network history.” They now rank #4 in total viewers and Adults 18-49 among all entertainment cable networks. Multiple steady series, careful programming decisions, and a clear schedule are definitely paying off for the net.
Tuesday nights saw the strongest year-to-year grow – up 91% in HH compared to November of last year. It’s not just women that are flocking too – Tuesday staple STORAGE WARS effectively increased HH numbers in the double digits across all key demos. It’s no wonder that A&E, and just about every other competing network, is on the lookout for their own version of the hit show.
Wednesday nights saw some solid growth compared to last year as well. AMERICAN HOGGERS delivered above-average numbers throughout the month. While LADY HOGGERS hasn’t quite packed the same punch, numbers are still above average, driving Wednesday night to a 52% jump since November 2010.
While Tuesday and Wednesday nights catapulted A&E to the top of the charts overall, the rest of the nights struggled to keep up, all bringing in numbers below average. Some of the old A&E staples are starting to show signs of wear.
Monday night’s lineup of HOARDERS and MONSTER IN-LAWS were the weakest of the week, and the night was down across most of the key demos compared to last year. Average numbers for HOARDERS fell 27% compared to a year-ago. Likely the net will be searching for the new version of that show soon.
Similar story to be told for THE FIRST 48 (Thursdays) and CRIMINAL MINDS (Fridays and Sundays.)
This presents a very good opportunity for producers looking to develop for the network. While this is clearly one of the top-performing cable networks, they have the flexibility – and the need – for more programming. There are key spaces that A&E should be looking to fill as they push for even bigger growth in 2012.