History Channel Performance/Schedule Analysis - June 2009

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of July 27, 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

CITIES OF THE UNDERWORLD (NON-FICTION)
Goes underneath the world's major cities to find dungeons, tunnels, tombs, trains, buildings, and ancient cities. Subjects include New York, London, Edinburgh, Istanbul, and others. Hosted by Don Wildman and Eric Geller.
Status: Season 3 finished up in early 2009.

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

EXPEDITION: AFRICA, STANLEY AND LIVINGSTONE (DOCUMENTARY)
A real life recreation of the Stanley expedition to search for Dr. David Livingstone.  Five adventurers will follow Stanley's footsteps, using only the technology available in the 1870's.  
Status: Premiered May, 2009. 8x60. Produced by Mark Burnett Productions.

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.

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

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.

WARRIORS (NON-FICTION)
Inside the culture of famous warrior groups, exploring their weaponry, tactics, and rituals.  Included are the Vikings, Barbarians, Aztecs, and the Samurai.
Status: Premiered March, 2009.  10x60.  Produced by High Noon Entertainment

JUNE 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

ICE ROAD TRUCKERS, AX MEN, HISTORY SUNDAY, LIFE AFTER PEOPLE, EXPEDITION: AFRICA, BATTLES BC

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:

** July 7 - THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE
** July 20 - MOONSHOT
** July 26 - PAWN STARS
** July 31 - LOCK N' LOAD w/ R. LEE ERMEY
** 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

JUNE 2009 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH           A18-49     A25-54
Monday 8-11pm               -12%             -9%         -10%
Tuesday 8-11pm               15%             27%           23%
Wednesday 8-11pm         -11%             -16%         -11%        
Thursday 8-11pm              -4%              3%           - 2%     
Friday 8-11pm                   3%             -14%         - 19%        
Saturday 8-11pm              -4%            -15%           -17%
Sunday 8-11pm               -13%            -24%          -16%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm          -5%              -9%           -10%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Channel was down high single digits for target men versus last year, with nightly decreases all across the week.  Only Tuesday showed any real improvements from last June.  Several key series fell down by double digits, and EXPEDITION AFRICA failed to show up, leading the drops.  Some good news was found in the month to month numbers.  For the 3rd consecutive year, numbers improved from May.  Last year, June was the peak of the summer.  If the network can keep some of their anchors prominent in the schedule for July, matching last year's delivery is very doable.

ICE ROAD TRUCKERS cleaned up in June.  The Polar Bear has been somewhat restricted in Alaska, but the drama remains ever present in the far north.  Ratings are down 20% in target men for last year, but it still overwhelms the rest of network's schedule.  In fact, it outpaces everything else by so much, that it's the only series to finish above average for target men the entire month.  And, if we need even more numbers to prove the point, the four Sunday night premieres were the four highest rated telecasts of the month.

LIFE AFTER PEOPLE has become one of our favorites.  Just a really neat idea well positioned to the channel, it continues to be a solid performer with target men.   Tuesday premieres all rated above average for the month, although repeats throughout the week fell off enough to drop the cumulative numbers slightly below average.

With the exception of one week, MONSTERQUEST premieres fared well in June.  New episodes slotted on Wednesdays at 9pm were the highlight of the night.  Older episodes repeated at 8pm with less success, a pattern we've seen before. 

GANGLAND hasn't been talked about too much of late, and has virtually disappeared from the network's press and highlights.  Nevertheless, it soldiers on, quietly landing the #2 spot on the network's program rankings behind ICE ROAD TRUCKERS.  All four Thursdays featured premieres at 9pm.  10pm repeats actually did better than the premiere lead-ins two of the four weeks. 

PATTON 360 pulled strong numbers for total viewers, but not so many on the younger end of the spectrum.  For target men, it's one of the lower rated series on the schedule.  Friday premieres were yanked halfway through the month, pushed outside of prime to 11pm.  

EXPEDITION AFRICA started weak in May and didn't get any better in June.  Sunday night premieres fell off dramatically from the ICE ROAD TRUCKERS lead-in.  A few repeats on Monday and Friday were really low before they were yanked two weeks into June.  Sundays were probably left alone to satisfy advertising commitments.

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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