Programming blocks and consistent scheduling seem to be History’s mantra. Not too wide a programming mix, the primetime schedule is home to the solid favorites, giving viewers several opportunities to find their programs and develop a pattern of appointment viewing. On weekends, a mix of programming and stacked mini-marathons of top shows drive the lineup.
APRIL 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / April 2012 vs. April 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
After a stellar March, April was down for History, falling 11% in overall viewers, and slightly more among the key younger demographics. Many of the top History show are showing signs of wear; PAWN STARS was down 33% among overall viewers compared to last year, and AMERICAN PICKERS down 36%. ONLY IN AMERICA, TOP SHOT, SWAMP PEOPLE, AX MEN, and AMERICAN RESTORATION took significant hits as well on year-to-year numbers.
The Monday night lineup, anchored by PAWN STARS and AMERICAN PICKERS, is the strongest of the week for History, but year to year numbers were down 27% in overall viewers. New episodes consistently bring in above-average numbers, but as noted above, all of the shows are losing some steam as they age.
On Tuesday nights, TOP GEAR, SWAMP PEOPLE, and TOP SHOT joined PAWN STARS. Though the night is down modestly from a year ago, it is also History's youngest-skewing. As we look at Live vs. Live + Same Day ratings, TOP SHOT rates higher when considering DVR-programming - this is a show that is definitely appointment-viewing with a solid fan base.
There was more Americana on Wednesday night with AMERICAN RESTORATION and ONLY IN AMERICA. SOLD! premiered on 4/11, but couldn't meet average numbers or meet lead-out numbers from AMERICAN RESTORATION. Still the night is up 15% compared to last year.
Thursdays, which saw huge growth last month, is leveling out. SWAMP PEOPLE continues to score big (#2 on the top 10 list for the month of April.) A few various lead-outs were attempted throughout the month (MUDCATS, SOLD!), but SWAMP continues to outperform them.
Fridays took a significant hit compared to last year, down 48% from April 2012 and even more among the key younger demographics. The schedule was fairly haphazard, and nothing managed to hit average throughout the month.
Saturdays saw a nice increase from a year ago, up 36% from last year. Stacked episodes of History favorites performed well.
Sundays were down slightly from last year. FULL METAL JOUSTING continues to plod along, with consistent, below-average numbers. A special about the Titanic, on 4/15, scored above average.