JANUARY 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:
* Bold denotes programming change
The strategy is a clean checkerboard. Monday through Friday it's individual series in prime. Library series from the broadcast networks alternate at 8pm forming a quasi-strip. Saturday showcases inventory series and repeats with mini-stacks. Sunday night anchors the schedule with premiere series.
JANUARY 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / February 2011 vs. February 2010 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Year on year growth for this network has been phenomenal. Everything, and we mean everything, is up 50% or more from last year. Overall, this largely digital distributed net is showing it can garner audience numbers in the same league as some of the more established brands. In January, ID doubled the delivery of Adults 25-54 of sister networks Science Channel and the newly launched OWN. It also surpassed, Travel Channel by more than 10% in the target demos. Most impressive, it beat out one of the mature channels just down the hall, outdelivering Animal Planet by a little less than 10%. Very impressive rise indeed.
Top series for the month was STOLEN VOICES, BURIED SECRETS. Back to back, half-hour premieres on Mondays at 10pm were the top rated telecasts of the month. Not far behind STOLEN VOICES, ON THE CASE WITH PAULA ZAHN anchored Sunday nights, landing the #2 spot of strongest series. No surprise then that Sunday and Monday were the two best nights of the week for target Adults 25-54.
Thursdays were above average with a mix of programs. Couple of solid outings for NIGHTMARE NEXT DOOR put the evening in the above average column.
Elsewhere, Tuesday and Saturday were OK, while Wednesday and Friday were at the back of the pack.
I ALMOST GOT AWAY WITH IT had a couple of premieres on Tuesday nights, garnering above average audiences. Interestingly, a couple of episodes ran on a Saturday night over on sister network Discovery Channel, drawing about 40% more A25-54 than ID's regular Tuesday time slot. Hope ID got some cross channel spots out of it.
48 HOURS ON ID improved over last month with a couple of Sunday night premieres. DATELINE ON ID didn't fare as well in January. Not all newsmagazines re-edits are created equal.
Finally, a couple of general observations on the schedule. With a few exceptions, most nights in January experienced a steady rise from 8pm to 9pm to 10pm. Programmers love that. Less exciting, the median age of the network remains very high. One of the oldest nets in the CU Top 30. Knocking a few years off would make a big difference.
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
Network and independent press will variously describe ID as the fastest growing network over "X" period. While they might use different demos or date ranges, the essence of the message is what's important. Investigation Discovery, or ID for short, is on the rise. It may be on the digital platform, but don't underestimate it as a competitor with or commissioner of original programming. ID is very clearly both and plans to be for a long time.
Two areas we'll be watching are median age and advertising. Median age on ID is one of the oldest in the Cable U Top 30. No surprise for anyone that's followed this genre over the years. On the advertising side, younger viewers are always the key. A channel doesn't have to go MTV young, but a median age in the 40's is pretty important. ID has a ways to go before it see those numbers.
Attracting advertisers has consistently been the challenge with the crime genre. Strong audience figures are nice, but they need to translate into dollars. Non-fiction networks have always struggled with the right mix within their schedules. ID's schedule is 100% within the crime genre by definition. A challenge indeed.