Original series, off-network acquisitions, and specials anchored the July primetime schedule for Discovery. Newcomers GATOR BOYS and FAST N LOUD drove Monday nights, while DEADLIEST CATCH and spin-off AFTER THE CATCH were on the agenda for Tuesdays. More guns and outlaws for Wednesday nights with AMERICAN GUNS and FAST N LOUD. Thursdays continue to feature programming in the auction space, with AUCTION KINGS, FINAL OFFER, and PROPERTY WARS making appearances throughout the month. More DEADLIEST CATCH and Alaska-themed programming for Fridays, while Saturday's schedule featured DUAL SURVIVAL and other various programs. A mix of series, specials, and stunts close out the week on Sunday.
JULY 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / July 2012 vs. July 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Despite several new premieres and specials in July, it was another tough month for Discovery as, in overall viewers, and in key demographics, there were year-to-year losses. Overall HH viewers were down 8%. As threw as in June, Discovery saw strong growth for the network on Thursdays in the auction space, but every other night of the week saw declines. Hopefully, with the upcoming Shark Week in August, and more originals on the slate for later in the year, these numbers will begin to climb again.
Monday nights in July featured a wide variety of programming - everything from ALASKA: ICE COLD KILLERS (which is also shared with sister network Investigation Discovery) to RIVER MONSTERS (shared with sister network Animal Planet), to BBQ PITMASTERS, to GATOR BOYS hit the air. The night saw an overall decline of 23% in HH viewers compared to last year, but newcomer GATOR BOYS seemed to find its stride later in the month, beating average. It's clear that Discovery can be a player in the "swamp" space, and will likely try to give History some stiff competition in the coming months in this space.
Tuesdays in July saw a more moderate loss of only 4% compared to last year. DEADLIEST CATCH still continues to perform wherever its scheduled, and numbers doubled average for the network. AFTER THE CATCH couldn't quite hold the same lead-in numbers, but both shows came in well above average, and drove Tuesday nights to be the strongest of the week for Discovery.
Wednesdays in July featured FAST N LOUD and AMERICAN GUNS. Despite the new programs, numbers were down across the board on the night, though over-indexed average in both key male demographics. The night also skews the youngest of the week for Discovery.
Discovery continues to play in auction space full force on Thursday nights, with a lineup of AUCTION KINGS, FINAL OFFER, and PROPERTY WARS. The night was the only night of the week in July to see overall growth in HH numbers (up 44% compared to July 2011) as well as see growth in the key demos. Other than Tuesday nights, Thursdays saw the most women viewers tuning in as well and the night, overall, is the second strongest of the week for Discovery.
More DEADLIEST CATCH, this time paired with FLYING WILD ALASKA and some other various programs were on the schedule for Fridays. Several airings of FLYING WILD ALASKA managed to score above average numbers, but the night was still down 7% compared to last year and saw sharper declines among the key demos. Tired programming, and a haphazard schedule is most likely the culprit here.
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.
Both Saturdays and Sundays in July featured a variety of programming - series and specials. Most programs didn't manage to hit average, and Saturday and Sunday saw losses of 17% and 21%, respectively, compared to July 2011. Top performing on Sunday night was a special - MERMAIDS: THE BODY FOUND, shared with sister network Animal Planet. An off network acquisition, UNDERCOVER BOSS, hit the air on Sunday 7/29 but numbers didn't hit average.
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.