History Channel Performance/Schedule Analysis - August 2008

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of September 22, 2008)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

M 25-54.

AUGUST 2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

ICE ROAD TRUCKERS, ANCIENT DISCOVERIES, JURASSIC FIGHT CLUB, MONSTERQUEST(Full Disclosure: CABLEready represents the producer of this program)

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Vestiges of the MODERN MARVELS strip still run at 8pm on several nights.  Premiere series tend to run at 9pm, with 10pm reserved for encore plays and/or established inventory series.  Thematic evenings take over on the weekend.  Network tends to run two hour event docs on Saturday.  Sundays have become the home for the umbrella theme "American Originals", including ICE ROAD TRUCKERS and AX MEN.  Specials can be inserted on Sunday evenings without breaking the flow of the regular schedule. Stability has been the hallmark of the schedule.  Multiple episode series and very few changes give the viewer several opportunities to find their programs and develop a pattern of appointment viewing.  

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES: 

JULY to AUGUST:

Monday - MODERN MARVELS is dropped at 8pm for a variety mix of programs this month

Tuesday - UNIVERSE at 8pm is gone, replaced by inventory repeats.  JURASSIC FIGHT CLUB debuts at 9pm and runs a couple of weeks before moving over to Wednesday nights.  EVOLVE bows at 10pm, replacing MEGA-DISASTERS

Wednesday - JURASSIC FIGHT CLUB comes over from Tuesday nights in midmonth, taking over the 10pm slot from a repeat of ICE ROAD TRUCKERS. 

Friday - GANGLAND moves in at 9pm, bumping out the 3rd exhIbition of ICE ROAD TRUCKERS

Sunday - Repeats of ICE ROAD TRUCKERS take over the 8pm slot, creating a two hour series block for its finale month.  TOUGHER IN ALASKA finishes up at 10pm.  A repeat of MONSTERQUEST is added for the month.

PREMIERES:

None this month

SEPTEMBER AND BEYOND

PREMIERES:

** September 7th - SAND HOGS

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

Network hit a speed bump in August and a pretty big one at that.  Every audience measurement is down from last year, but most important are the men.  Men 18-49 were down 13%.  Men 25-54 were down 17%.  The Olympics had a real impact on this schedule, probably more than most, especially on Sunday nights.  Couple of new series hit the air with big fanfare early in the month and came away with just middling audiences.  That's not good. 

And we're hearing that early numbers for the big promotable of the Fall, SANDHOGS, aren't so strong out of the gate.  We'll check that out next month. 

AUGUST 2008 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Mondays start off the week on par with last year.  In recent months the night has been turned over to specials rather than continuing series.  Two premieres this month, PREHISTORIC MONSTERS REVEALED and CHINA'S FIRST EMPEROR, were right around the network averages.  There's a great opportunity to better as the fall season approaches.

Tuesdays were a problem.  Men dropped about 30% from last year.  Two new series failed to connect with the viewers and the numbers show it.  JURASSIC FIGHT CLUB lasted two weeks before it was shifted to Wednesday.  The 10pm offering, EVOLVE, was worse.  ICE ROAD as lead-in didn't help.  The Olympics made it difficult for two more weeks and it hasn't come back after that.  Both series represent a newer direction for the channel.  A wider definition of history, more science.  So far it's been a tough road.

Wednesdays are the bright spot.  Premieres of MONSTERQUEST led the evening to gains of 34% and 15% in the two male demos.  It's also provided a more compatible lead-in for JURASSIC FIGHT CLUB.   Men were up measurably for the CGI dino series following the move to Wednesday, even with two airings against the Olympics.  The post Olympics week saw the highest numbers yet for the series.  Not extinct yet.

Thursdays come in below the network averages for the month.  Up slightly in M18-49 and down for M25-54, the night was mixed.  MODERN MARVELS is topic dependent, showing good and bad numbers on any given week.  Premieres of THE WORKS were slightly above average, although not a break out by any means. 

Fridays were down about 20% with men.  With three nights against the Olympics, including the Opening Ceremonies, the general inventory repeat approach was probably wise. 

Saturdays were down slightly with the usual array of repeats of their two hour specials.

Sunday was the primary troublespot in the schedule for the month.  While it remains the top rated night of the month thanks to ICE ROAD TRUCKERS, the year to year comparisons are not favorable.  Male demos are down 40%.  Last year, ICE ROAD finished the season in August with some very big numbers.  This year the Olympics covered three Sundays in the month.  No surprise that the numbers are down.  We're a bit confused about the strategy to continue running premieres of the network's top rated series directly against the Beijing games.  Maybe a hiatus was in order?  Hindsight at this point, but it's clear that a major dip in their best series had an impact on the night and the month.


PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

None announced.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

None announced.

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

DECODING THE PAST, MEGA MOVERS, DOGFIGHTS, ENGINEERING AN EMPIRE, BONEYARD

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