BET Analysis



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 curtailed (for the most part), 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.


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




Monday 8-11pm




Tuesday 8-11pm




Wednesday 8-11pm




Thursday 8-11pm




Friday 8-11pm




Saturday 8-11pm




Sunday 8-11pm




MTWTFSS 8-11pm




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

NOVEMBER 2012: BET’s air was full of specials this month as a host of awards shows, political specials and even a comedy night were dotted through-out the line-up. There was some regular programming on the air as well, which has not always been the case in 2012. But it wasn’t enough to draw viewers back in. Ratings hit a low for men. Women, BET’s target audience, nudged up almost 10% vs. last month, but were down by 20% vs. last year.

THE SOUL TRAIN AWARDS and APOLLO LIVE were the hands-down ratings leaders of the month. They both aired on Sunday the 25th and more than tripled the next nearest contender. SOUL TRAIN AWARDS aired last November as well, with ratings that were significantly better with women. BLACK GIRLS ROCK! is another returning annual special and it underperformed last year’s numbers by more than 30%. The fourth big special was an Eddie Murphy stand-up comedy event that aired on Spike two times before it ran on BET. Ironically, the special was called ONE NIGHT ONLY. It was the third-best performing program on the line-up.

Other specials airing in primetime this month were another encore of the BET HIP HOP AWARDS, BATTLEGROUND 12 - an election feature, THE STEVE HARVEY SHOW – which will be a recurring program, and DON’T SLEEP! HOSTED BY TJ HARVEY. None of these specials were big successes in the ratings department. They all fell below the primetime average for women 18-49, and all but DON’T SLEEP missed the average for movies, which is a pretty good benchmark for BET’s hits and misses. However, many of these specials are public service, public relations or image and brand builders for the network, and their success is not measured solely by ratings and the bottom line.

Regular programming did okay this month, but there were no huge hits either. KEYSHIA & DANIEL had 26 runs (and four new episodes – that averages to more than five encores a week), and managed to come out just ahead of the primetime average. The program built audience through the November run, with the fourth week pulling the biggest numbers. Still, the program did not deliver the numbers of REED BETWEEN THE LINES, the original program that was running in November 20111. REED also had 26 runs last year, but its average women 18-49 rating was 20% higher. SOUL MAN was KEYSHIA’s companion program, airing new eps at 10:30 on Tuesdays, following KEYSHIA. With just a couple of encores, SOUL MAN also kept its head above water (the primetime average). The night was down by 20% vs. last year. NEW YORK UNDERCOVER and JAMIE FOXX ran for a couple of weeks on Monday and Friday, hit the bottom of the rankers, and were gone again.

Movies remain the glue of BET’s line-up. Among the 15+ movies airing this month, Friday After Next, Coming to America and Lottery Ticket were the best-rated titles with women. Movies have been shifting away from male-skewing, urban and violent themes and more towards titles with female appeal, as reflected in the male/female skew of 33/67. Compared to last year, the primetime movie average was down 20% among men and down about 10% among women.