Animal Planet is capitalizing on their success with edgier fare by scheduling more danger-driven series, featuring more unpredictable animals (RIVER MONSTERS, GATOR BOYS, NORTH WOODS LAW).
Thematic scheduling around animals / species is a strategy that has, for the most part, fallen by the wayside. Animal Planet will program series blocks as stunts on virtually any night of the week, as series are continually tested in different scheduling configurations.
Most weeknight programming leans toward the wild or raw side of animal life. Mondays and Wednesdays have been featuring rural America as the setting for several recent series, including HILLBILLY HANDFISHIN’, CALL OF THE WILDMAN, and MUD LOVIN REDNECKS. Tuesdays have gone fishing, airing the popular new series TANKED and other sea-related series. Specials and various original series finish out the week on Thursdays and Fridays. The end of the week is also when the network will try out new themes like medical mysteries (MONSTERS INSIDE ME).
Saturdays are historically the night for pet programming, usually revolving around cats and dogs. Lately the network has been creeping slowly away from furry pets and embracing aquatic pets instead. MY CAT FROM HELL has been keeping those kitty-loving viewers happy, but recently TANKED has become a regular face on Saturdays (along with its aforementioned Tuesday night airings).
Sunday, which used to feature more of a mixed bag, now seems to be firming up with more regularly scheduled programming and specials that explore the wilder, untamed animal themes.
OCTOBER 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / October 2012 vs. October 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Animal Planet has been on a year-over-year growth trend for 11 months. Reliable programs such as CALL OF THE WILDMAN and many of the cat/dog pet related programming have kept viewers tuning in to the network and delivering strong ratings. In October, new seasons of TOO CUTE! and PIT BULLS AND PAROLEES were very popular and helped keep the network on a strong upswing. These two shows also comprised exactly half of the top twenty individual telecasts for the month and took the top 9 slots.
CALL OF THE WILDMAN continues for another month to fill primetime on Monday nights. October’s ratings dropped by double digits from September in every demo. The night boasted yearly increases in most demos, the best one being men 18-49, which was up 60%. However, the ladies didn’t come to watch this year and the annual change in women 18-49 dropped by 29%.
Tuesday night shifted from a consistent September schedule of repeat episodes of TANKED and TANKED: UNFILTERED to an array of nature related specials and one week airing a solid block of CALL OF THE WILDMAN. This resulted in significant negative growth across the board in all demos both monthly and yearly.
Wednesday night’s schedule was also shifted drastically from last month. This October viewers were given three weeks straight of WILD PACIFIC starting the night at 8PM as a lead-in to BLUE PLANET: SEAS OF LIFE. These held average ratings for Wednesdays until the final week of October when the network aired a block of the wild animal expose SAVAGED. The drop in ratings this week caused some negative demo growth from September, however the yearly growth was well up in the 20% range across the board.
GATOR BOYS had led Thursday nights in September, but this month it was replaced by a variety of program blocks and specials. Each week during this survey offered a different schedule and the ratings seemed to reflect this inconsistency. The night boasted yearly growth in every demo with the highest change among men 18-49 (up 29% from last year). The monthly difference showed a 12% growth in Households, however every age demo dropped by a significant negative percentage.
Medical mysteries and creepy crawlies took over the primetime space on Friday nights with each night airing MONSTERS INSIDE ME along with a few airings of INFESTED! and various related programs. The yearly change was highest among women 18-49, up 27% from October 2011. However, the subject matter seemed to lose September’s audience who had been watching law-enforcement shows (NORTH WOODS LAW, LAW ON THE BORDER) along with repeats of TANKED. Ratings were down from last month in all target age demos and households.
New seasons of PITBULLS AND PAROLEES and TOO CUTE! took over Saturday’s primetime space during the month of October. As stated earlier, these two shows held the 9 top slots of the top 20 individual telecasts, and were very helpful with the rating gains during this month. The yearly percent increase was phenomenal with the demos showing higher than 80% increases over October of 2011. Monthly increases were much more subtle and men 18-49 was actually down 9%.
The Sunday night schedule in October was a different variety of specials each week. Last month OFF THE HOOK: EXTREME CATCH provided a consistent 8PM schedule, which drew good ratings for the network. However this month the ratings dipped this night both yearly and monthly.
Looking forward to November viewers can expect premieres of the third season of FINDING BIGFOOT, more adorableness with new episodes of TOO CUTE! and an all day marathon of viewer favorite TANKED on the 17th.