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Discovery Analysis - Broadcasting & Cable

Discovery Analysis

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

New series and returning favorites anchored the May 2012 primetime schedule for Discovery.  Monday nights in June were anchored by OUTLAW EMPIRE.  DEADLIEST CATCH anchored Tuesday, with new series DEVILS RIDE.  AMERICAN GUNS and AUCTION KINGS were on the schedule for Wednesday with newcomer FAST N LOUD in the 10pm slot.  AUCTION KINGS and FINAL OFFER take over Thursdays, while Alaska and danger are the themes for Friday's lineup of DEADLIEST CATCH, DEADLY SEAS, and FLYING WILD ALAKSA.  Saturdays featured a variety of specials, while MYTHBUSTERS and newcomer HEAD GAMES was on the slate for Sundays.

JUNE 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / June 2012 vs. June 2011 (% Change)

HH

P18-49

P25-54

Monday 8-11pm

-46%

-53%

-46%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-17%

-15%

-12%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-14%

-25%

-16%

Thursday 8-11pm

12%

-10%

-19%

Friday 8-11pm

-23%

-40%

-2%

Saturday 8-11pm

-22%

-31%

-32%

Sunday 8-11pm

8%

29%

9%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-15%

-21%

-17%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Despite strong efforts by Discovery, June marks another month in year-to-year losses for the network.  Overall HH viewers were down 15%, and numbers in the key demographics saw even steeper declines.  There was some very strong growth for the network on Thursdays (auction space) and Sundays (dangerous jobs/Alaska space), but other nights and genres did not fair as well in June.

Mondays is car/outlaw night for Discovery with DEVIL'S RIDE, OUTLAW GARAGE, FAST N LOUD, and OUTLAW EMPIRES all making appearances throughout the month.  The night took a significant hit compared to June 2011, and was the weakest of the week for Discovery, under-indexing the average in both the key younger male and female demographics.  Only FAST N LOUD approaches average numbers for the night.

Tuesdays in June saw moderate losses, with HH viewers falling 17% overall.  Still, DEADLIEST CATCH in the 8pm and 9pm slots were successful in coming in above average, lifting DEVIL'S RIDE along with it.  AFTER THE CATCH on 6/19 also scored above average and the night was the strongest of the weak for Discovery.

Wednesday nights in June also struggled to hit average, with SONS OF GUNS, AMERICAN GUNS, and FAST N LOUD in the primetime lineup.  AMERICAN GUNS scored above average and numbers climbed throughout the month, as did FAST N LOUD.  And, despite year-to-year losses, the night did see positive growth among all key demographics compared to May 2012.

Discovery has hit the auction space full force on Thursday nights, with a lineup of AUCTION KINGS and FINAL OFFER.  The night was up 12% in HH viewers, and was up 7% and 23% among Women 18-49 and Women 25-54, respectively.  However, there was some erosion of viewers throughout the month on AUCTION KINGS, though FINAL OFFER's numbers stayed steady throughout.

Fridays, which have traditionally been among the strongest nights of the week for Discovery, took a hit this month, falling 23% in HH viewers compared to June 2011, and even more across the key demos.  Tired episodes are the likely culprit for the drop off - many more viewers are tuning in to DEADLIEST on Tuesday.  Still, numbers were above average for the night.

Saturdays in June featured a mix of programming - series and specials.  Top performing was BERMUDA TRIANGLE EXPOSED.

MYTHBUSTERS anchors a very solid Sunday night lineup.  Airing in both the 8pm and 9pm slots, the show indexed above average for nearly every airing in June.  HEAD GAMES, at 10pm, didn't fair as well and hasn't been able to hold MYTHBUSTERS' lead-in numbers.  Still, the night was one of the few of the week to see increases compared to last year, and skews younger than any other in the Discovery lineup by far.

In recent months, it's clear there is a tremendous amount of competition in the cable landscape for viewers, and several networks that are actively working in Discovery's space.  Big programming choices, tentpole series, and stunts (like the upcoming Shark Week) are going to be Discovery's biggest weapons in the ongoing fight for viewers in 2012.

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