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BET Analysis - Broadcasting & Cable

BET Analysis

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

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.

MAY 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live + Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / May 2012 vs. May 2011  (% Change)

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

  -8%

    0%

  -21%

Tuesday 8-11pm

  38%

    18%

  85%

Wednesday 8-11pm

  15%

    12%

  48%

Thursday 8-11pm

   5%

   -5%

  11%

Friday 8-11pm

  11%

    47%

  16%

Saturday 8-11pm

  -9%

   -20%

  -5%

Sunday 8-11pm

  0%

   -11%

  -8%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

  10%

    5%

  16%

*Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

MAY 2012: BET moves into May without any change to its line-up, again. The network that used to change its schedule almost weekly is now into its fourth month without any significant change. Again this month viewers were offered a heavy base of movies and new episodes of THE GAME and LET’S STAY TOGETHER (including a healthy run of encores). The only thing that is different this month is the lack of any specials to give the ratings a spike. What was on the air was enough to lift core women 18-49 ratings by 16% vs. last year. But it was not enough to keep viewers tuned in vs. last month – compared to April, bottom-line numbers are down by 16%.

Movies are the foundation of the network, playing a dominant role on the schedule every night except Tuesdays, and sometimes Sundays. This month the movies did not hold viewers as the average movie rating fell by 3% vs. last year and 19% vs.. last month.  Movie selections have become more female focused, with Tyler Perry titles Why Did I Get Married?, Meet The Browns and Madeas Family Reunion topping the charts this month. At one time BET movies had a strong male skew, but men are clearly not the focus any more, with theatricals or with original programming.

THE GAME and LET’S STAY TOGETHER are still running with new episodes each week; BET ordered a broadcast-sized 22 episode season for the programs. By this time last year the programs were in repeats, and so BET was able to grow Tuesday night’s core women 18-49 ratings by 85% vs. year ago on the back of the new telecasts. Last year TOYA: A FAMILY AFFAIR was trying to carry Tuesday nights. However, both THE GAME and LET’S STAY TOGETHER have been slipping this season, and ratings are off by another 18% vs. last month for THE GAME and 14% for LETS STAY TOGETHER. Both the main actor and actress of THE GAME have officially parted with the show, but BET plans to move forward, reworking the casting and the storyline for season six.

The seasons for both THE GAME and LET’S STAY TOGETHER come to an end in June, and then BET will roll out its first new programs since the beginning of the year. The minimalist approach has been working for the network as ratings continue to improve vs. last year. Upcoming programming includes another season of REED BETWEEN THE LINES, as well as the gospel competition show SUNDAY BEST. New initiatives include a couple of comedies and a reality program, plus some original made-for-TV movies. Celebrity docu-reality programs that used to define the network are no longer part of the plan at BET.

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