MTV's schedule is constantly changing. They usually have at least 3 nights of primetime first-run programs, while the other nights are either re-runs or other specials. They fill gaps in the schedule by showing feature films and a few acquired series relevant to their audience. The timeslots leading up to premieres are usually a marathon of episodes of weeks' past. They rely on a lot of repetition in the form of marathons, especially on the weekends. They also make good use of tent poling by scheduling longstanding reliable series like THE REAL WORLD at 10pm and new, untested content either right before or at 10:30 or 11pm.
MARCH 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / March 2012 vs. March 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
This March, MTV took a slide in both the monthly and yearly ratings. While still enormously popular, JERSEY SHORE doesn’t attract the record numbers it once commanded. Tuesday and Wednesdays, which were primarily composed of SHORE premieres and reruns, experienced the largest yearly decreases. Tuesdays were down 67% and 45% on Thursdays among women aged 18-49.
SHORE was easily the highest rated program of the month, but still lost viewers over the course of the month. This decrease mirrors a season long seepage of ratings. Nevertheless, the SHORE’S core, loyal fan base helped make Thursday the most popular night for the network, especially among young women. This dedicated demographic lofted the month’s three original episodes of SHORE above all other MTV telecasts.
In addition to the new fifth season episodes, re-airings of previous seasons as well as the latest post-season reunion also performed very well. Only a special Where Are They Now? episode of 16 & PREGNANT managed to break the SHORE’S stranglehold on the top monthly programs. As usual, PREGNANT was embraced by young female viewers and all but overlooked by men.
CHALLENGE: BATTLE OF THE EXES was down 15% from last month, delivering disappointing numbers for the tail end of the season. Wednesdays, which aired premiere episodes of CHALLENGE, were down significantly from last month. Despite the sub-par ratings, CHALLENGE still managed to do respectably among women aged 18-49.
The remainder of MTV’s March programs drops off considerably in the ratings. ROB DYRDEK’S FANTASY FACTORY debuted its fifth season to a mild reception. FACTORY’S lukewarm ratings were still able to exceed the poorly received fourth season of PRANKED.