BET Performance/Schedule Analysis - August 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of September 24, 2009)


CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMS

COLLEGE HILL
(REALITY)
The reality series moves to South Beach in its sixth season, following the lives of eight college students.
Status: Season 6 ended in June. Produced by BET

FRANKIE & NEFFE
(REALITY)
Spin-off of KEYSHIA COLE: THE WAY IT IS, the series profiles Keyshia's mother and sister as they strive to gain financial independence.
Status: Set to launch Tuesday, August 25 at 10PM. Produced by: DuBose Entertainment

THE GAME (COMEDY)
Spin-off of GIRLFRIENDS about a med student and her professional football player boyfriend. (Off CW).
Status: Currently airing. Produced by: Happy Camper Productions / Grammnet Productions i/CBS Paramount Network Television Inc.

KEYSHIA COLE (REALITY)
Follows the dramatic life of the platinum-selling R&B singer.
Status: Season three ended on 12/16/08. Produced by: BET.

SUNDAY BEST (COMPETITION REALITY)
BET's national search for the next big gospel singer.
Status: Season two ended 5/11/09. Produced by: The G Group and BET

TINY AND TOYA (REALITY)
Chronicles the lives of two dynamic women from Atlanta who are "immersed in the craziness of the Hip Hop world, but trying to find inner strength, peace and happiness" by starting their own businesses.
Status: Previews air Monday June 15 and Sunday June 28, official debut June 30 @ 10PM.
Produced by: BET.

WELCOME TO DREAMLAND (COMPETITION REALITY)
Eight female contestants vie for a recording contract.
Status: Aired 6/2 - 7/14. Produced by: DuBose Entertainment.


AUGUST 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE


TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

TINY & TOYA, FRANKIE & NEFFE


SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

The BET Monday "" Friday schedule has firmed up, typically airing a movie each night at 8, with original programming or encores running at 10. Premiere nights for new series are usually Tuesdays and Wednesdays with plenty of encores scattered irregularly throughout the rest of the week. Sunday night usually hosts a mix of programming, including movies, original series encores, news specials and encores of specials.

UPCOMING PREMIERES:

** BET's Education Initiative Week 9/7/09-9/13/09, in conjunction with Viacom's company-wide 'Get Schooled' Project includes:
- GET SCHOOLED September 8 from 6 "" 6:30P (Viacom simulcast)
- BALLOU Saturday September 12 @ 5P
- PRESSURE COOKER (documentary) Saturday, September 12 @ 6:30P
- BRING YOUR A-GAME Saturday, September 12 @ 9P
- BRING YOUR A-GAME TOWN HALL Saturday, September 12 @ 9:30P
- HEART OF THE CITY Saturday, September 12 @ 10P
** FIRST IN debuts Wednesday, September  30 @ 10P, and runs through December (10x30)
** PAY IT OFF debuts Friday, October 2 @ 10P, and runs through February 2010
** MO'NIQUE debuts Monday, October 5TH (M-F 11P "" 12A STRIP)
** Special 106 & PARK on Tuesday, October 27 6-8P
** Special BET HIP HOP AWARDS on Tuesday, October 27 from 8-10P
** MONICA: STILL STANDING debut Tuesday, October 27 @ 10P, and runs through 12/15 (8x30).
** INSIDE DTP debut Tuesday, October 27 @ 10:30P, and runs through December 15 98x30).
**THE BLACK PANTHER slated to debut in Q1'10


RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison:
August 2009 vs. August 2008  (% Change)

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

-32%

-18%

-39%

Tuesday 8-11pm

1%

7%

24%

Wednesday 8-11pm

15%

6%

45%

Thursday 8-11pm

21%

17%

47%

Friday 8-11pm

-5%

-16%

20%

Saturday 8-11pm

15%

31%

22%

Sunday 8-11pm

-32%

-48%

-14%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-7%

-10%

10%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

BET has been enjoying record growth since March of this year. With a consistent scheduling strategy in place, long-running and low-rated programming removed and a more topical focus that allowed the network to put up primetime programming on President Obama and Michael Jackson, numbers soared.

But the network experienced somewhat of a setback this month. Ratings fell by 25% to 30% vs. July's peak, and are back to February's levels. Compared to last August, bottom-line men 18-49 ratings felll by 7% while women 18-49 ratings rose by 10%. But the year ago comparison is a tricky one "" we would expect decent ratings increases, not flat numbers. August 2008 brought BET two weeks of highly watched Olympics to compete against, and then nearly a full week of low-rated Democratic Convention coverage on its own air.

The biggest thing to happen to BET's ratings this summer has been the Michael Jackson tributes, with June's BET AWARDS at the top of the list. In July the network ran many high rated encores of the awards show, along with new coverage that was well received.
The Michael Jackson tributes continue this month, centered on the iconic pop-star's birthday. There was a new one-hour BET produced documentary, an older two-hour documentary, and a new half hour "countdown" special (10 THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW), plus a half-hour tribute, each running various encores. But the MJ ratings are fading fast, and were a big contribution to the month-to-month decline.

The second biggest thing to happen was TINY & TOYA (or does that count as two things?). According to BET, the program topped KEYSHIA COLE as the network's highest rated original series, averaging 1.8 million viewers and topping it off with the August 25th finale reaching 1.9 million total viewers. According to CableU, the program continued to perform at the top of BET's line-up, but it dropped 24% of its demo audience from last month.

The next big thing was the new reality show, FRANKIE & NEFFE, which debuted on Tuesday, August 25th, following TINY & TOYA's finale. FRANKIE & NEFFE follows the lives of Keyshia Cole's mother (Frankie) and sister (Neffe). The program actually topped the finale of TINY & TOYA, and BET is calling it the #2 series debut. With just one new episode, it's a bit soon to start the ratings comparison game, but we will point out that the four encores that followed on the next five days lost significant audience from the premiere.

Speaking of THE GAME, that program dropped more than a quarter of its demo ratings this month vs. last. THE GAME usually loses a small amount of its lead-in audience, which was almost always a movie. Movies still dominate the primetime lineup, usually airing from 8 "" 10 Sunday through Friday, and all of Saturday. Titles have not changed vs. previous months "" they are dominated by the seemingly endless Tyler Perry library. But average movie ratings dropped by 20% for men and 14% for women vs. last month.  Ratings for movies were also off vs. last year, when those ratings were deflated by Olympic competition.
The other program on the line-up was Monday night's RISING ICONS, which was not listed on the program ratings chart, probably because it is a sponsored (Grey Goose) program.  If it had shown up in the ratings chart, it would have been at the bottom, with household and 18-49 ratings about 50% lower than the second lowest rated program (THE GAME).

August was not a strong month for BET as it transitioned from a fabulous summer, and prepped for a long list of new programs set to premiere in the fall.


ACQUISITIONS:

BET Networks and The Weinstein Company put together a four-movie deal involving first network-window premiere rights for The Longshots (starring Keke Palmer), Soul Men (starring Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac) and Hurricane Season (starring Forest Whitaker), as well as a portion of the network window rights to The Great Debaters (starring Denzel Washington).


PROGRAM RENEWALS:

106 & PARK, BOBBY JONES GOSPEL, BROTHERS TO BRUTHA (season 2, Q4 '09), SUNDAY BEST (season 3, Q1 '10).

Returning specials include: BET AWARDS '10 (Q2 '10), CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL (Q1 '10), BET HIP HOP AWARDS (Q4 '09), THE BET HONORS (Q1 '10), RIP THE RUNWAY (Q1 '10), SPRING BLING (Q2 '10).


PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

SOMEBODIES not likely to return, but no official announcement has been made.

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