History Channel Performance/Schedule Analysis - August 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of September 19, 2009)

CURRENT AND SIGNATURE PROGRAMS:


AX MEN
(NON-FICTION)
Follow four logging crews through a season in the remote forests of northwest Oregon, where anything and everything can go wrong.  Technology, history, and characters are intertwined.
Status: Season 2 currently on air.  Produced by Original Productions.

ANCIENT DISCOVERIES (DOCUMENTARY)
Looking to the ancient past to find the origins of modern inventions. Clues to the beginnings of robots, ships, warfare, flight are all unearthed in this weekly series.
Status: Currently in repeats.

BATTLES B.C. (DOCUMENTARY)
Profiles ancient military heroes and battles. 
Status: Premiered March, 2009.  8x60.  Produced by Four In Hand Productions

GANGLAND (NON-FICTION)
Inside the prisons and on the streets of America, this series examines the most prominent and violent gangs today.  Episodes include MS-13 and Aryan Brotherhood.
Status: Currently airing Season 4

ICE ROAD TRUCKERS (NON-FICTION)
Truckers who fight time and the elements, driving across the seasonal ice sheet in the far northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, to deliver their cargo.
Status: Season 3 premiered in May, 2009.  Produced by Original Productions.

LIFE AFTER PEOPLE (DOCUMENTARY)
Based on the successful special, the series follows how things run in a world that has been deserted for a long period of time. 
Status: Premiered in April, 2009.  10x60.  Produced by Flight 33.

LOCK N' LOAD w/ R. LEE ERMEY (NON-FICTION)
Following the engineering and development of battlefield firearms.  Uses high-speed photography and demonstrations to showcase each weapon. 
Status: Premiered in August, 2009.

MONSTERQUEST (DOCUMENTARY)
(Full Disclosure: CABLEready represents the producer of this program.)  Looks at creature sightings around the world including the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and the Swamp Beast.
Status: Season 3 currently on air.  Produced by Whitewolf Entertainment.

MODERN MARVELS (NON-FICTION)
This signature series covers a different topic in each episode, exploring everything from architectural and engineering structures to scientific discoveries and social wonders to common objects that take prominence in human life - from bridges and dams to rubber and concrete, and everything in between.
Status: Ongoing production since 1995.  Produced by Actuality Productions

PAWN STAR$ (REALITY)
Follows a Las Vegas pawn shop and the family that owns it.  Three generations of Harrisons butt heads, run the business and place a value on items ranging from swords to paintings. 
Status: premiered in July, 2009. 14 eps. Produced by Leftfield Pictures

THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE (NON-FICTION)
The possibility of impossible inventions becoming real in the future, including time travel and invisibility.
Status: premiered in July, 2009.

UFO HUNTERS (NON-FICTION)
Four man team are the UFO Hunters.  With backgrounds ranging from science to publishing, the team uses eyewitness accounts, documents, footage, and science to investigate reports of UFO's.
Status: Season 3 premiered in March, 2009.  Produced by Motion Picture Production

THE UNIVERSE (DOCUMENTARY)
A look into the interstellar depths through robotic rovers and deep-space telescopes.
Status: Currently in repeats.  Produced by Flight 33 Productions.


AUGUST 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

PAWN STARS, ICE ROAD TRUCKERS, HOW THE EARTH WAS MADE, MARKED, CLASH OF THE GODS, GANGLAND

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.  


UPCOMING PREMIERES:

** August 17 - WOODSTOCK: NOW & THEN
** September 7 - MANSON
** September 9 - NOSTRADAMUS EFFECT
** September 16 - MYSTERYQUEST
** September 20 - HOLY GRAIL IN AMERICA
** September 27 - DAY AFTER DISASTER

AUGUST 2009 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison: 
August 2009 vs. August 2008  (% Change)

HH

M18-49

M25-54

Monday 8-11pm

12%

24%

19%

Tuesday 8-11pm

8%

14%

19%

Wednesday 8-11pm

- 8%

- 5%

- 5%

Thursday 8-11pm

14%

57%

45%

Friday 8-11pm

30%

40%

39%

Saturday 8-11pm

14%

14%

18%

Sunday 8-11pm

43%

57%

53%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

16%

28%

28%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

The network has a very strong August, wrapping up the best summer ever for the channel.  Per the network's press, Summer of 2009 (June through August) garnered the network's highest ratings ever in all key demos.  Target men were up almost 30% in both age breaks versus year ago figures.  Last year featured the Beijing Olympics, depressing the numbers significantly, so the big jump comes as no surprise.  However, with the target men up almost 10% from 2007, the two year trends are looking good.

August marks the 4th consecutive month of growth with target audiences and the highest numbers since last Spring.  Looking ahead, September should continue to bring good news.  Last year, the schedule was still struggling in the post-Olympics month.  With the announced specials and a couple of rising series, beating year ago numbers shouldn't be a problem.

PAWN STARS is officially the newest hit series on the channel.  Following on a strong debut in July, it took August by storm.   Sunday night premieres made it the highest rated property on the network.  11 of the top 20 telecasts for the month were PAWN STARS.  In a further display of strength, the repeats are hitting big as well.  Sunday 10:30 airings follow the 10pm premieres of course,  However, a pair of Thursday night repeats coming out of GANGLAND are pulling male demo numbers well above the network averages. 

ICE ROAD TRUCKERS finished up its 3rd season on a high note.  Network press has the finale up 14% over the 2008 edition for A25-54.  Target men were up 15% over last year, albeit with an asterisk for the Olympics.  The four Sunday premieres were top four telecasts for the month.  Canadian and Alaskan ice roads, over land, rivers, and the ocean.  Can't wait to see what's next for the 4th season.

CLASH OF THE GODS had a quiet debut on Monday nights.  Numbers were consistently above average for M18-49 and mixed for M25-54.  A good looking production, it maintains the ancient history tradition we've seen the last few years. 

THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE fell off rather significantly from last month.  The science hybrid just didn't seem to get on track in August.  Three weeks of premieres brought mixed results in the target demos, even with an editorially compatible lead-in from THE UNIVERSE.  Speaking of which, two new episodes of THE UNIVERSE didn't fare so well either near the end of the month.  Tough times on
Tuesday nights.

MONSTERQUEST improves on last month, but drops slightly from last year.  A full month of premieres does just a tad over the network averages for M18-49 and M25-54.  The consistency across the four weeks is the real story, as the 9pm Wednesday premieres are all within a few hundreths of a rating point from each other. 

LOCK N LOAD with R Lee Ermey was OK on Friday nights.  Below network averages for target men, the series brings Friday nights back to the military tech and history we've seen in the past.  GANGLAND on Thursdays continues to skew younger than most of the scheddule, and is proving to be a nice set up for PAWN STARS at 10pm.

A few specials were featured in August.  WOODSTOCK: NOW & THEN, the coproduction being windowed with Vh1, was the most prominent.  Part of the continuing celebration of the Summer of '69, WOODSTOCK featured the usual array of footage, interviews, and where are they now storylines in a fast paced couple of hours.  Audiences responsed fairly well.  Younger men 18-49 were good, while the men 25-54 demo break was considerably stronger than the net averages. 

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

None announced.


PROGRAM RENEWALS:

AX MEN, HOW THE EARTH WAS MADE, THE UNIVERSE, MONSTERQUEST, ANCIENT DISCOVERIES, MODERN MARVELS

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

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