Comedy Central Analysis - November 2009 - Broadcasting & Cable

Comedy Central Analysis - November 2009

Author:
Publish date:

NOVEMBER 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

Comedy Primetime Schedule

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Comedy Central recently replaced repeats of the previous night's THE DAILY SHOW at 8pm, followed by THE COLBERT REPORT at 8:30 PM with two episodes of SCRUBS. For the rest of the evening on most weekdays short-run series fill the last two hours, with premieres staggered throughout the year. With nearly 200 episodes still in rotation, SOUTH PARK is the go-to series to fill problem time periods. Friday nights are devoted to Stand-Up specials, and movies tend to dominate 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 John Stewart and The Colbert Report, are weekday live 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 young - hovering, on average, around thirty-one years old. That it also skews male should make you imagine the sound of money being printed.

NOVEMBER 2009 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / November 2009 vs. November 2008  (% Change)

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

-14%

-15%

-24%

Tuesday 8-11pm

11%

16%

9%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-26%

-17%

-40%

Thursday 8-11pm

-14%

-19%

-28%

Friday 8-11pm

-15%

-16%

-23%

Saturday 8-11pm

-17%

-19%

-15%

Sunday 8-11pm

-35%

-30%

-41%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-19%

-16%

-29%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Much like the News networks, COMEDY CENTRAL is facing the down-side of competing against last year's Presidential Campaign-inflated ratings in the latter half of 2009. THE DAILY SHOW and THE COLBERT REPORT occupied nearly 20% of Prime last year, offering their unique perspectives on the previous day's campaign activities from 8-9p, Tuesday through Friday. SCRUBS, which has replaced those tandem satires on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, delivers barely half the Prime HH Rtg average, thus providing a much weaker lead-in for the remainder of the schedule.

Monday's year to year losses were exacerbated by a mixed bag of underperforming Movies and series episodes from 8-10p. A double stack of FUTURAMA at 10p seemed to suffer from this reduced lead-in, as the series was down -18% from October

Tuesday's growth was fueled by a 2-hour stack of SOUTH PARK, which grew sharply above its SCRUBS lead-in. The block grew in HH and, especially, M18-49 as the evening wore on, with the strongest numbers at 10p and 1030p.

New series SECRET GIRLFRIEND, which premiered the second Wednesday of October at 1030p, followed SOUTH PARK as the #2 Prime series for the Network. At 1030p, SECRET GIRFRIEND retained a strong 88% of SOUTH PARK'S HH lead-in. The 8-10p block, dominated by SCRUBS, JEFF DUNHAM and MICHAEL & MICHAEL HAVE ISSUES was down significantly from last year, causing the night to drop sharply from November 2008, despite the presence of SOUTH PARK premieres at 10p.

Year-to-year losses continued on Thursdays, where THE JEFF DUNHAM SHOW proved the lone bright spot among series offered that night. Despite this performance, DUNHAM was down sharply from its October debut, with the series Prime average down by nearly 1/3 in HH and P18-49 from its October debut.

Friday's Stand-Up offerings were generally down from last year (remember, repeats of the previous night's DAILY SHOW & COLBERT were featured from 8-9p in election-driven 2008.) Specials featuring Gabriel Iglesias and Bill Engvall stood out with HH and demo delivery somewhat above the nightly average.

Weekend Prime featured a mix Movies and Stand-Up specials. Both nights experienced sharp drops from last year. For all of Comedy Central's reputation for hip fare, once again it was the Blue Collar Comedy Tour alumni Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Ron White who earned top honors for HH and demo delivery on the weekend in October. SCARY MOVIE 3 was the top Movie offering for the Weekend.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

Comedy ranks among the top 10 cablers for the 18-34 demographic, and mainly with a mix of their original series, stand-up and sketch, not off-net acquisitions like most of the other cable networks.

Originals are sketch, stand-up, reality.

Comedy over the past year or so has actively been buying movie packages from many of the big studio distributors and it doesn't look like they are slowing down anytime soon.

Important:

COMEDY CENTRAL and Levity Entertainment have signed a multi-year, multi-platform output deal for a series of stand-up specials that will premiere on the channel in 2009 and 2010.  The deal includes six stand-up specials from Christopher Titus, Gabriel Iglesias, Pablo Francisco, Jim Breuer, Mitch Fatel, Pete Correale that will air in 2009 and six additional stand-up specials that will shoot in 2009 to air in 2010.  At least eight of the upcoming stand-up specials will be released on DVD by COMEDY CENTRAL Home Entertainment.   Stand-up specials continue to be incredible success on the channel, and allows the development of comedians across all platforms.

Comedy's strategy of having young male demographics as their primary audience has helped them for potential growth. Comedy is on a roll and focusing on the future by securing top talent and development deals. Projects in development run the gamut from short-form and sketch/variety to scripted narrative and animation starring a cross-section of top comedic talent. Sketch comedies and animation are on tap for Comedy as part of its new slate of original pilots.

Comedy Central knows what's funny. One of the many growing networks, they are one of the most successful for on-air, online and on-the-go mobile technology. They give their viewers access to the cutting-edge original programming, stand-up and sketch comedy, plus offbeat comedy TV series and movies. Their strategy of attracting the young male demographic continues to grow month to month whether their strategy be one off originals or stunt/holiday programming.

Comedy continues to acquire a variety of original stand-up comedy programs and specials. There are three outlets currently for talent that the network features stand-up shows: COMEDY CENTRAL PRESENTS, LIVE AT GOTHAM, as well as one-hour specials filmed exclusively for COMEDY CENTRAL.

Comedy, which like TBS, keeps its entire focus on comedy, has two series in production for 2009: "Krod Mandoon & the Flaming Sword of Fire," a satire of fantasy adventures like "Lord of the Rings," and a sketch-comedy half-hour called "Important Things With Demetri Martin."  Like so many other cable networks in record numbers are launching their own comedies out of sheer necessity because there are so few comedies being scheduled by the broadcast networks. Since the late 1990s, reality shows have steadily displaced comedies on the broadcast side, and many broadcast comedy writers have shifted to cable.

Comedy Central and The New York Comedy Festival announced a multi-year partnership deal, giving the five-day comedy showcase a national television partner for its fifth iteration.  The festival will feature a variety of top-tier comedians including Frank Caliendo, Louis C.K., Craig Ferguson, Carlos Mencia, Joel McHale, B.J. Novak, Tracy Morgan, Brian Regan, Sarah Silverman and Katt Williams.  The multi-year national partnership will include producing an on-air special shot at the Festival which will premiere in early 2009, as well as digital media support and other content opportunities.

Comedy's strategy of having young male demographics as their primary audience has helped them for potential growth.  Comedy is on a roll and focusing on the future by securing top talent and development deals.  Projects in development run the gamut from short-form and sketch/variety to scripted narrative and animation starring a cross-section of top comedic talent. Sketch comedies and animation are on tap for Comedy as part of its new slate of original pilots.

Related