The BET Monday - Friday schedule typically features a movie each night at 8 or 9 with original programming / encores filling the remaining hour. Premiere night for new series is Tuesday. The practice of scattering encores throughout the week has been curbed in recent months, giving movies a dominant, if not prominent role. Sunday night is a mix of programming, including movies, original series, encores, news specials and encores of specials.
DECEMBER 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / December 2011 vs. December 2010 (% Change)
*Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
DECEMBER 2011: It was a rare off-month for BET as the net lost 5% of its core women 18-49 ratings vs. year ago, only the second time this year BET was off pace. Compared to last month, BET was off by 19% on core women 18-49 ratings. The primetime line-up was essentially pared down to just three prongs again this month: movies; specials and original comedy REED BETWEEN THE LINES.
In total there were 36 movies airing in primetime this month, one BET AWARDS SHOW encore, two SOUL TRAIN AWARDS encores, a BET CHRISTMAS special, a Herman Cain special, 8 new plus 18 encore telecasts of REED, and three telecasts of THE PARKERS.
Movies, the first prong of the BET line-up, are the solid foundation of primetime, and programmers lean on them even more when the pickings are thin, like they were this December. There were just three nights out of twenty-eight without a movie this month. They comprised about three-quarters of primetime airspace, but just one-quarter of the top 20 telecasts for women 18-49. The movies that pulled in the best ratings weren’t new titles for BET. The always popular Why Did I Get Married rose to the #1 slot this month. All Things Fall was number four, Phat Girlz was number 6 and B.A.P.S. came in 19th and 20th.
Among men, a demo that is not targeted by BET these days, movies accounted for 13 of the top 20 telecasts. Encores of previous month’s big specials resonated more with men, as SOUL TRAIN AWARDS and BET AWARDS 2011 pulled the two best-rated slots. (Best performing movies for men were All Things Fall, Fat Albert and Stomp the Yard). The new specials this month, BET CHRISTMAS and THE CURIOUS CASE OF CITIZEN CAIN both performed below the network average for all demos.
REED BETWEEN THE LINES saved December for BET. The program has held up, even with all those encores factored in. Compared to last month it is up 4% on households and down 5% on core women 18-49. It helped build BET’s signature Tuesday night to 18% growth vs. last December, which is important to the entire BET strategy. REED set up the timeslot for THE GAME and LET’S STAY TOGETHER to knock it out of the park with their January premieres. And in their second seasons on BET, they did just that. According to BET, THE GAME’s debut pulled 3.9 million adult 18-49 viewers and LET’S STAY TOGETHER drew 3.5 million viewers. Although their numbers were below 2011’s record-setters, they were more than respectable, giving a fast start to the new year ahead.