History Channel Analysis - Broadcasting & Cable

History Channel Analysis

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

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.  In recent months, and especially with the success of mini-series HATFIELDS & MCCOYS, look for History to start increasing the amount of scripted programming in their lineup.

JULY 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

A18-49

A25-54

Monday 8-11pm

-17%

-27%

-21%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-1%

-7%

-8%

Wednesday 8-11pm

27%

37%

45%

Thursday 8-11pm

14%

5%

11%

Friday 8-11pm

-14%

-32%

-27%

Saturday 8-11pm

46%

39%

48%

Sunday 8-11pm

-12%

-35%

-26%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

1%

-10%

-5%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Coming off a tremendously strong June, numbers were slightly down for History in the month of July.  Though there were some new program premieres this month, none were quite as high-profile, or mass marketed as scripted June mini-series HATFIELDS and MCCOYS.  For the first time in a while, there were negative year-to-year numbers for History.

Monday kicked off the week as the strongest of the week for the network, though year-to-year numbers were down 17% overall, and more among the key younger demographics.  Anchored by PAWN STARS, Monday night is actually skewing older than it was a year ago.  And PAWN STARS itself, along with AMERICAN PICKERS, are seeing year-to-year declines, down 27% and 17%, respectively.

The stellar Tuesday night growth of June (due to HATFIELDS) wasn't on the table for July, and Tuesdays took a small year-to-year hit in ratings.  Tuesdays in July were also anchored by PAWN STARS, leading into a variety of programming, including SWAMP PEOPLE, SHARK WRANGLERS, MOUNTAIN MEN, or a movie.  Nothing hit average (though PAWN came close.)

Wednesday night's solid year-to-year growth also can be attritbuted to PAWN STARS - this time, the Cajun kind.  The night saw solid growth.  Newcomer PICKED OFF started strong, hitting above-average numbers, but declined throughout the month.

Thursdays in July also came out on top of 2011's HH averages, up 14% compared to last year.  SWAMP PEOPLE scores big numbers - nearly double average - for its premieres.  MOUNTAIN MEN, which kicked off the month over average, climbed throughout the month in ratings.  GREAT LAKE WARRIORS, which hit the air on 7/19, was about average in its debut, and fell in the second week.

Fridays in July featured only stacked episodes of AMERICAN PICKERS and the night was down compared to last year.  Some episodes managed to hit average, but most fell below during the month.

Marathons of PAWN STARS anchored the Saturday primetime lineup in July and, as we've seen, the show manages to draw a crowd whenever it's scheduled.  The night was up 46% compared to July of 2011, and saw similar growth among the key demographics as well.

Sunday's schedule in July was anchored by ICE ROAD TRUCKERS.  ICE ROAD TRUCKERS hit average and above, but nothing else managed to hit the same benchmark.  SHARK WRANGLERS premiered on 7/1 to a solid debut, but numbers declined in the next two weeks - after the third, it was replaced with GREAT LAKE WARRIORS, and then CAJUN PAWN STARS

July appeared to be somewhat of a transitional month for History.  Look for more scripted programming and miniseries in the coming months, as well as more attempts by the network to step on Discovery's toes in programming choices and scheduling.

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