MARCH 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.
MARCH 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / March 2011 vs. March 2010 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
ID is still rockin'. Year on year numbers are up by serious double digits once again. And, it continues to be a strong player in the Discovery portfolio out pacing Science and OWN, and this month pulling ahead of Animal Planet. Median age continues to be an issue as it rises 5% from last month.
Monday leads the week in March. STOLEN VOICE, BURIED SECRETS at 10pm led all series on the schedule in target demos. DISAPPEARED wasn't too far behind. Both series featured a full slate of premieres which never hurts.
Sunday night was on par with Monday for A25-54 and about average for A18-49. 48 HOURS ON ID and ON THE CASE WITH PAULA ZAHN were nothing but repeats and still outpaced most of the schedule. 48 HOURS was strong at 8pm, dropping slightly at 9pm. ZAHN landed a top 5 spot on the rankings to anchor the night.
The remaining five nights of the week are a testament to the stability of the network. Three are on average for the target demo, two are just 5% short of the average. Thursday's SINS & SECRETS was the standout series at 10pm. A full month of premieres made it #1 on the schedule for target A25-54.
Elsewhere, Thursday's CHASING JUSTICE featured new episodes at 8pm, but not much traction. Friday was loaded with new eps of FBI: CRIMINAL PURSUIT and reasonably good numbers. Performances were a little stronger at 10pm.
Tuesday built nicely across the night, ending with premieres of CUFF ME IF YOU CAN. Wednesday were a mixed bag of series, old and new. Saturdays featured a series of repeat stacks. PAULA ZAHN was tops, CUFF ME IF YOU CAN took the bottom spot.
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.