Perhaps more than any other network in cable, Bravo has a "feel." It's bright, highly energetic and exudes an urban, upscale, sassy sensibility. The network has kept that vibe from becoming snobbish or off-putting with a winking admission that this is all just good, light, entertaining fun -- and everyone's invited. And though that's mostly work accomplished in development, production and post efforts, it's also a scheduling strategy. There's almost never a show on Bravo's air that feels out of place. So, even though they stack very heavily, a viewer watching at, say, 9pm every night, will see a different program each day, but still feel very much a Bravo viewer.
Bravo defines and schedules its programming around themes of food, fashion, beauty, design and pop culture.
DECEMBER 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live+SD Primetime Ratings Comparison December 2012 vs. December 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
2012: Bravo had an exceptional ratings year in 2012. There was a heavy reliance on the HOUSEWIVES franchise, but the franchise performed. Attempts at rolling out new programming were not all successful (LIFE AFTER TOP CHEF, GALLERY GIRLS, SILICON VALLEY), but there was the occasional hit (SHAHS OF SUNSET). The audience is continuing to age, as are some franchises (TOP CHEF), but the network keeps its excellent branding in tact, projecting an energetic, upscale, sassy and fun feel to its line-up.
DECEMBER 2012: Bravo ended the year on an up-note, maintaining audience from 2011 while improving the bottom line by 24% vs. last month. As always, the REAL HOUSEWIVES came out on top with ATLANTA and BEVERLY HILLS pulling top numbers for their premieres. Happily, SHAHS OF SUNSET launched on December 2nd, and was a break-out hit, possibly becoming a much-needed new franchise for the net. As noted above, the audience continues to age. The median age of the primetime audience nudged up by almost 10% vs. last year, and now stands over 40.
The peak of the Bravo week is Sunday night, where the best rated programming appears. SHAHS OF SUNSET pulled the best program average, and among premiere telecasts it ranked third behind REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA and BEVERLY HILLS. In a very positive sign, its fifth episode pulled better ratings than the premiere. This month’s REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA was solid, improving average performance over last year by 6% among women 18-49 and by 15% among women 25-54. Sunday’s premiere night performance was even stronger, pushing the night to 25% (W18-49) and 40% (W25-54) improvements over last year.
Mondays featured REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS, which grew 10-15% vs. last month and is holding vs. last year. Poorly performing START-UPS OF SILICON VALLEY was booted from its Monday night slot and bumped to Tuesday, where it did even worse. After five episodes it was off the air entirely.
Tuesdays also hosted home programming – FLIPPING OUT and MILLION DOLLAR DECORATORS, along with encores of ATLANTA and/or BEVERLY HILLS. FLIPPING OUT was one of the top ratings grabbers of the month, but MILLION DOLLAR DECORATORS was at the bottom of the rankers. As a whole, Tuesday was off its game vs. last year, with women 18-49 ratings falling by 53%.
Wednesdays are food night, and TOP CHEF is in mid-season in Seattle. The program is still underdelivering vs. last year, off by 20% or so. The good news is that the ratings continue to climb with each successive episode. The bad news is that the program is in its 10th season, so it isn’t a matter of the audience finding the program; it’s a matter of the audience choosing not to tune in until the competition gets tighter and the field gets smaller. Perhaps a 17-episode season is too long for a competition show in its 10th season.
Thursdays’ mix of HOUSEWIVES (ATLANTA encores and MIAMI in its second season) gave the night a 50%+ boost compared to both last month and last year. Thursday was able to join Monday and Sunday as the only nights to deliver better than average ratings.
Friday and Saturday remain underscheduled, with encores (SHAHS and HOUSEWIVES) and theatricals filling the air. With titles A Few Good Men and Apollo 13, the movie titles aren't a great fit with Bravo’s audience and brand.
2013: Bravo plans to continue airing its unique brand of programming and expanding out successful franchises. 2013 will bring the network’s first attempts at scripted drama.