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, giving movies a dominant, if not prominent role. Sunday night is an ever-changing mix of programming, including movies, original series, encores, news specials and encores of specials.
MARCH 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / March 2012 vs. March 2011 (% Change)
*Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
MARCH 2012: March 2012 looks a lot like March 2011. In both months, new episodes of THE GAME and LET’S STAY TOGETHER dominated the ratings while their encores were scattered throughout the schedule. The special of the month was RIP THE RUNWAY. And movies were the only other significant programming option. Oh, and women 18-49 ratings were exactly the same.
There were some refinements in the schedule that helped BET stay where it was. The schedule was much more consistent week to week, helping viewers to know when to tune in, and what to expect. The encores of THE GAME were still plentiful (12 this year vs. 16 last year), but they were regularly scheduled and restricted to Mondays, Sundays, and of course Tuesdays, premiere night. Previous season telecasts were everywhere last year (26 telecasts) while this year there were only four telecasts from previous seasons. Last year the low-rated FAMILY CREWS was running on Sunday nights. This year the net stuck to what was working – THE GAME, LET’S GET TOGETHER and movies.
RIP THE RUNWAY ran both years, and pulled identical women 18-49 ratings for both years, which was enough to put it at the best-rated program of the month, for both years.
The four new episodes of THE GAME pulled the four best telecast ratings, followed by the four new episodes of LET’S STAY TOGETHER, followed by four Tuesday encores of THE GAME. For both years. It’s a little scary!!
There was some change, but most of it was not very significant. Actual core women 18-49 ratings for LET’S STAY TOGETHER have grown a bit, up 10% vs. last month and up 8% vs. last year. Alternately, THE GAME was mixed. It increased core ratings by 6% vs. last month, but is down 6% vs. last year.
The biggest difference comes with premiere telecast ratings for THE GAME. They do not have the power they did last year – the four premieres averaged 30% lower ratings this year than last. The more regular scheduling of encores and the decreased number of previous season showings helped stem the loss, so that the bottom-line averages do not even reveal that the ratings have slipped.
Movies are more important than ever on BET, as they comprise the bulk of the primetime inventory. Of all the BET programming, movies have the strongest male skew, but the majority of BET movie viewers are still female (about 60%). Overall, movie ratings by 13% for women 18-49 vs. both last year and last month. Best rated titles were Poetic Justice, Hurricane Season, Video Girl and Meet The Browns for women and Boyz In The Hood, National Security and Hurrricane Season for men.