Comedy Central Analysis - Broadcasting & Cable

Comedy Central Analysis

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Comedy Central is adept at mixing original series with acquisitions such as ITS ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA and SCRUBS to deliver consistent young adult audiences. Their strategy of using established lead-ins such as SOUTH PARK to introduce new hits such as TOSH.0 has paid off: top-rated TOSH.0 is now being used in a similar fashion to introduce new series. The latest debut to benefit from a TOSH.0 lead-in, WORKAHOLICS, was renewed for a second season after only four episodes.

With over 200 episodes still in rotation, SOUTH PARK, the traditional go-to series to fill problem time periods, has been joined by FUTURAMA and TOSH.0 in that role. Repeat episodes of original series  have joined Friday night's traditional Stand-Up specials, with movies and more Stand-Up  dominating the rest of the Weekend.

Comedy Central's schedule stands out in nonfiction cable (excluding news/sports networks) because two of its highest-profile franchises, THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART and THE COLBERT REPORT, are weekday live-to-tape productions. Comedy Central's programs are arranged on a grid rare for its dependably predictable pattern -- day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, even year-to-year. These folks surely have some of the strongest appointment viewing numbers in the business. Their audience is also unusually, enviably younger, hovering, on average, around thirty-one years old. That it also skews male should make you imagine the sound of money being printed.

May 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison May 2012 vs. May 2011 (% Change)

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

-17%

-15%

-16%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-31%

-30%

-37%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-14%

-48%

-43%

Thursday 8-11pm

-37%

-28%

-37%

Friday 8-11pm

 9%

 5%

23%

Saturday 8-11pm

 6%

25%

0%

Sunday 8-11pm

10%

30%

31%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-19%

-14%

-17%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

While May 2011 featured new seasons of SOUTH PARK, TOSH.0 and the debut of WORKAHOLICS, May 2012 was bereft of series premieres, with the exception of a lone WORKAHOLICS premiere episode the last Tuesday of the month.

Monday's modest declines for HH and demos reflected the slow decline of 9-11p IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA. Overall the series declined 20% in HH delivery from last year, with demos down in the mid-teens. A repeat of a JEFF DUNHAM stand-up special was the top 8pm offering of the month. Delivery was down a similar percentage from last month.

Tuesday's mix of   TOSH.0 and WORKAHOLICS repeats did not fare well against a similar lineup last year that was replete with premiere episodes for both series. HH and demo delivery for the night declined in the 1/3 range from last year and suffered 20-30% losses  from the previous month for the second consecutive survey.

With repeats of SOUTH PARK back on the schedule now that Season 16 is in the books, Wednesdays faced the steepest annual losses of any night in May. While May 2011 featured new TOSH.0 episodes on Tuesday promoting new SOUTH PARK episodes the next day to the largest regular viewership in network history, no such synergy was available this year. Sketch-Com KEYE & PEELE now follows the venerable CHAPPELLE'S SHOW  at 830pm, and generally holds the lead-in. RM18-49 was down by 41% for the night overall from April's premiere-driven delivery.

Thursday losses for HH and M18-49 over the past few months continued in May with only another repeat of JEFF DUNHAM: SPARK OF INSPIRATION offering above-average returns. RW 18-49 was down by 1/3 from April.

With the return of Friday's stand-up-centric offerings, the night grew modestly over last year and last month. Stand-Up specials from Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari and Jeff Dunham were the top draw for w18-49, while the TOSH.0 repeats from 8-9pm benefited most from M18-49.

DODGEBALL and TALLADEGA NIGHTS were the top weekend Movie offerings in May.  Top specials included THE COMEDY AWARDS and two more Jeff Dunham repeats, ARGUING WITH MYSELF  and CONTROLLED CHAOS, again proving the ventriloquist's staying power with Comedy Central viewers.

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