BET Performance/Schedule Analysis - July 2008

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of August 27 2008)


TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

18-34 African Americans

JULY 2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

BET AWARDS encores, BALDWIN HILLS 2

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

BET was on a well-publicized mission to add a full slate of original programs in the 07/08 season, but many of the announced programs never aired, or were pushed back to the 08/09 season.

BET's premiere nights for new series are usually Tuesdays and Wednesdays with plenty of encores scattered irregularly throughout the rest of the week. Movies run most nights, taking up the bulk of the primetime inventory.

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

JUNE - JULY:

The two big changes to the schedule this month were the addition of BALDWIN HILLS 2 and far fewer specials. BALDWIN HILLS 2's  premiere night was Tuesdays at 10PM, with regularly scheduled encores on Wednesdays at 8:30PM and Fridays at 10PM, plus a lot of irregularly scheduled encores, as four different telecasts aired 19 times. BET COMICVIEW replaced GIRLFRIENDS and various specials on Mondays at 10PM. HELL DATE returned for a second season on Tuesdays at 10:30PM. THE BOOT, originally a latenight series, was in primetime this July on a couple of Fridays at 10:30PM. On Saturdays, GIRLFRIENDS and movies were fairly regular, as opposed to various specials and programs last month.

PREMIERES:

** July 8: BALDWIN HILLS returns

AUGUST AND BEYOND:

** August: STOP THE VIOLENCE: AMERICA'S SILENT WAR: two 30-minute specials focusing on violence in Chicago and across the nation
** August 15: THE TRUTH WITH JEFF JOHNSON @ 11PM
** August 25-28: Live coverage of Democratic Convention
** Summer 2008: BET COMICVIEW returns
** September 9 @ 10:30PM: SOMEBODIES premieres
** Fall 2008: AMERICAN GANGSTER returns
** Fall 2008: BRUTHA premieres
** Fall 2008: COLLEGE HILL INTERNS returns
** Fall 2008: JUDGE KAREN premieres
** Fall 2008: SUNDAY BEST returns
** 2009: KEYSHIA COLE: THE WAY IT IS returns
** 2009: UNREPORTED premieres
** Winter 2009: THE BLACK PANTHER premieres
** Winter 2009: COLLEGE HILL returns
** Annual returning specials include: HIP HOP AWARDS (Fall '08); CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL (Winter '09); BET HONORS (Winter '09); RIP THE RUNWAY (Winter '09); BET AWARDS '09 (Spring); SPRING BLING (Spring '09).

SOMEBODIES, now set to premiere on September 9 is BET's first scripted TV series. It was originally part of the 2006 Dramatic Independent Film Competition at Sundance, and has been adapted into a 30 minute, single-camera comedy format. Shot on location in Athens, GA and the University of Georgia, the story is about Scottie, who is trying to find his way in the world but finds himself stuck in the role of "professional" student as his buddies move on to the real world. He then begins a journey of self-discovery. 


YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

BET fell this July versus last, as total primetime household audiences were down -11%, male shares were off by -25%, and female shares by -10%.

The majority of the programming was very similar year to year, with 16 telecasts of BALDWIN HILLS and five BET AWARDS SHOW encores in July '07 versus 19 telecasts of BALDWIN HILLS 2 and four BET AWARDS SHOW encores in July '08. BALDWIN HILLS 2 performed about the same as BALDWIN HILLS 1 - household ratings were off 13%, and men 18-49 ratings were off -5%, while women 18-49 ratings climbed +10%. But this year BALDWIN HILLS was the top performer on the line-up, with the top 4 rated telecasts of the month. Last year the program was helped out with other programming such as S.O.B. and WE GOT TO DO BETTER.

The other returning program with a big presence both years was the BET MOVIE OF THE WEEK, with 21 movies in 2008 vs. 11 in 2007. Ratings slipped -16% for households, -21% for men 18-49 and -13% for men 18-49. HELL DATE 2 was on the air this July, while the first season aired last July. This season is not doing as well, with a 30% drop in household ratings and a 45% drop on men and women 18-49 ratings.

BET COMICVIEW ran on Mondays at 10PM this year. Last year it was running on Thursdays at 10PM, with 29% higher men 18-49 ratings.

Monday was the most improved night vs. last year, with a +50% share gain for both households and adults 18-49. Women 18-49 share was up +67%. BET COMICVIEW replacing SOUL FOOD made most of the difference.  Tuesday and Sunday showed some improvement among women, but no other night enjoyed any increases over last year. Wednesday and Saturday took the biggest declines, each dropping about 40% of its adult 18-49 audience share.

JULY 2008 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

BET's bottom-line is down vs. last month, but that is mostly due to the June BET AWARDS. With high-ratings for the original broadcast and the first two encores plus a fairly decent halo-effect, BET's Super Bowl gave June a big boost. Of course that doesn't make month-to- month comparisons very easy....

So for what it's worth, bottom-line households share was flat, men 18-49 ratings were off by -25% and women 18-49 ratings were off by -10%.

Monday nights showed nice growth, with households up 30% and 18-49 ratings up by +12%. This is primarily stemming from the new BET COMICVIEW, which came in as the top rated program this month on households and 18-49 demos.

But the top rated telecasts all belonged to Tuesday nights' BALDWIN HILS 2 as the series scored the #1 through #4 positions. A sneak peek aired in June following the BET AWARDS, so the month-to-month comparisons are not valid. However, we can observe there were quite a few encore telecasts watering down the program's total performance (15). And we can also observe that many of these encores were not easy to find on the schedule, further diluting the total program ratings.

Wednesday nights saw absolutely no change in audience share, despite the addition of the regularly scheduled BALDWIN HILLS 2 encore.

Thursdays enjoyed a growth spurt, especially among core demos, as median age dropped -10% and adult 18-49 ratings went up +38%. A couple of movies did well (Paper Soldiers, Leprechaun), but the increase was mostly about an encore of the BET AWARDS.

As a whole, movies did about the same this month vs. last. The top performing movie of the month was The Salon, which had three broadcasts, earning #5, #6 and #7 on the top telecast list of the month.

The weekend had some more BET AWARDS encores to help the numbers pop. There was also a full night of HIP HOP VS. AMERICA PART 11 and a couple of BALDWIN HILLS 2 marathons.

Overall, not a bad month for BET. There was a lot of recycling, and not as many new programming initiatives as we saw last summer. The launches of SOMEBODIES (scripted drama / comedy) and THE TRUTH WITH JEFF JOHNSON (talk) will help break new ground as the network deals with new genres of programming on the schedule.

ACQUISITIONS:

None announced, although there are rumors that Diary of a Mad Black Woman and other Tyler Perry theatricals might share a window with Turner.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

BALDWIN HILLS 3, KEYSHIA COLE, BET COMICVIEW, COLLEGE HILL, AMERICAN GANGSTER, INTERNS, SUNDAY BEST

BET COMICVIEW got a renewal and a make-over, with a new setting a new title, COMICVIEW: ONE MIC STAND, and a new host - comedian Kevin Hart.

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

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