History Channel Analysis

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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 November, there was a tremendous reliance on PAWN STARS and spin-off CAJUN PAWN STARS, with the show appearing 51 times during the month (which is down from October's count of 65.)


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




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Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

With some nights seeing up to 46% growth overall compared to last year, and others seeing losses, November was an interesting month for History. Still, the network is dominating in the ratings compared to several other networks in its target demographics - no easy feat when you consider the massive cable landscape and competition. Overall, November saw a 15% increase overall viewers compared to last year but remained fairly flat overall among key younger demographic.

Mondays in November featured a lineup of PAWN STARS and AMERICAN PICKERS with all telecasts throughout the month surpassing average, and driving Monday nights to be the strongest of the week for History.  However, both shows are starting to show some signs of wear; PAWN is down 7% compared to last year, and AMERICAN PICKERS is down 5% overall.

Tuesdays in November featured a variety of stacked programs that rotated throughout the month.  THE MEN WHO BUILT AMERICA, which started its run in October, continued into November with above-average numbers.  Later in the month, MANKIND THE STORY OF US started strong, but numbers fell in the following week.  A solid performance by PAWN STARS mid month helped elevate year-to-year ratings for Tuesday nights.

AMERICAN RESTORATION and CAJUN PAWN STARS anchor History's schedule for Wednesday nights.  This month, the night saw year-to-year gains of 8% overall. AMERICAN RESTORATION is showing some signs of wear compared to last year; numbers were down 1% in overall viewers compared to November 2011, and saw bigger year-to-year losses among the key younger demographics.

Thursday's schedule in November was a rotating variety of of programs.  Reruns didn't manage to make a splash, and the night was down 18% in overall viewers compared to last year.

Fridays in November featured stacked episodes of AMERICAN PICKERS, and saw the debut of I LOVE THE 1880s on 11/16. Despite PICKERS managing to hit above-average, I LOVE THE 1880s, History's version of the hit retrospective shows, didn't hold the same audience, and numbers were below average.

PAWN STARS, paired with MANKIND THE STORY OF US anchored the Saturday primetime lineup in November.  PAWN outperformed MANKIND, and helped drive the night up 18% compared to last year.

Sunday's schedule in November was anchored by a variety of programming, from AMERICAN PICKERS to PAWN STARS and newcomer OUTBACK HUNTERS.  While the night saw moderate growth, news for the freshman series OUTBACK HUNTERS wasn't great - numbers were well below average.

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.