Discovery Analysis

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Original series, off-network acquisitions, and specials anchored the October primetime schedule for Discovery.  Cars, Alaska, Survival - you know, manly programs - anchor the schedule and run throughout the week.  Mondays in October were all about cars, with AMERICAN CHOPPER and FAST N LOUD.  Tuesdays were all about the north, with ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER and YUKON MEN anchoring the lineup.  Guns and the military were the theme for Wednesday.  Thursday saw FAST N LOUD along with TEXAS CAR WARS.  Friday was more Alaska and saw the debut of new series JUNGLE GOLD, while Saturdays featured more ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER.  Sundays was a lineup of originals - MYTHBUSTERS, CURIOSITY, and specials.

OCTOBER 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

P18-49

P25-54

Monday 8-11pm

-8%

-23%

-16%

Tuesday 8-11pm

33%

11%

33%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-25%

-33%

-26%

Thursday 8-11pm

49%

45%

66%

Friday 8-11pm

40%

45%

51%

Saturday 8-11pm

8%

-19%

3%

Sunday 8-11pm

25%

26%

24%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

14%

2%

15%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

With more competition in the non-fiction cable television marketplace than ever, Discovery has had somewhat of a tough 2012.  However, October was a positive turn for the network, which saw a 14% increase in overall HH viewers compared to October 2011, and was also up across the board compared to last month.  The debut of solid new original series scored well for Discovery, and the network is still seeing success with many of its long-running franchises and specials.

Monday nights in October were all about cars, with a lineup of OVERHAULIN, AMERICAN CHOPPER and FAST N LOUD.  The night was down 8% compared to last year, and while AMERICAN CHOPPER scored well above-average OVERHAULIN and FAST N LOUD struggled slightly this month.  The night is one of the youngest-skewing of the week for Discovery.  Still, numbers were down compared to October 2011 in the key demos, and it might be time for the next iteration of the car show for the network.

Tuesdays saw a solid bump up in overall numbers, up 33% compared to October 2011.  High-stakes male-driven shows like ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER and YUKON MEN delivered above-average numbers and scored well in male demographics.

Wednesday's gun/military centric lineup was down 25% compared to October of last year and saw similar losses among the key demographics as well.  Despite solid (though below-average) lead-in numbers from SONS OF GUNS, specials TED NUGENT'S GUN COUNTRY, OSAMA BIN LADEN: FINISH, and MILITIA RISING failed to hit average.  The night was the youngest-skewing of the week for Discovery.

An auction-themed lineup on Thursday proved successful for Discovery, as numbers were up overall (49% among HH viewers compared to October 2011) and among the key demos compared to last year.  While stacked episodes of FAST N LOUD performed below average, TEXAS CAR WARS in the 10pm slot scored well.  Later in the month, GOLD RUSH replaced FAST N LOUD to a stellar delivery in the 9pm slot.

Fridays have notoriously been a high-profile night for Discovery, and this October was no exception.  A lineup of YUKON MEN, GOLD RUSH, and the debut of JUNGLE GOLD propelled the night up 40% compared to October 2011 in overall viewers, and the night was up across the board in both male and female demos.  While GOLD RUSH scored close to triple average, the debut of JUNGLE GOLD on 10/26 didn't hold the entire audience, though it did score nearly double average in its debut.

Saturday's lineup in October featured mostly airings of ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER, teamed with other Discovery series and specials.  Nothing during the night managed to hit average, but overall, Saturday was up 8% compared to October 2011.

Sunday's lineup was up 25% compared to last year, driven by solid performances from MYTHBUSTERS at 8pm, CURIOSITY at 9pm, and various specials in the 10pm slot.  MYTHBUSTERS continues to deliver for the network and the show is up 5% in overall viewers compared to last year, and up even more among the key demographics.

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 are going to be Discovery's biggest weapons in the ongoing fight for viewers in the remainder of 2012.

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