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.
August 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / August 2012 vs. August 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
MTV made slight monthly gains but was unable to divert its continued yearly decline. TEEN MOM had the two highest rated telecasts of the month – a standard and seemingly reassuring statistic for the franchise.
Unfortunately, despite earning the top two telecast spots in August, MOM has fallen to nearly record lows. In fact, last July was the only month in the show’s history that performed worse.
The show was down substantially among its most devout audience: women aged 18-49. In years past, the only show capable of besting a premiere episode of MOM was (the then untouchable) JERSEY SHORE. These days, new episodes of the once great show are being outdone by the likes of AWKWARD and SNOOKI & JWOWW. While both AWKWARD and JWOWW manage to attract a decent audience, neither could have ever competed with MOM in its prime.
MOM seems to be suffering from the same ratings malady affecting the SHORE: viewer fatigue. No matter the popularity of a show, viewers will inevitably lose interest.
One of the few shows that seem immune to the law of limited longevity is the REAL WORLD. Despite originally premiering 20 years ago, WORLD was MTV’s highest rated show overall for the month of August. As usual, WORLD’s largest audience was comprised of women 18-49. While WORLD has the best household numbers, it should be noted that, evened in its weakened state, TEEN MOM still had the most young female viewers. Ultimately, Wednesdays (which aired premiere episodes of WOLRD) were second only to Tuesdays (featuring new MOM).
Meanwhile, scripted show AWKWARD enjoyed a positive month. While AWKWARD has not quite lived up to the strong ratings of its debut season, the show has recently experienced an upswing in viewership. Ratings for AWKWARD’s first four episodes in August grew steadily, culminating in numbers that rivaled the show’s peak performances last year.
Fellow scripted program TEEN WOLF closed out its second season this August. While WOLF did not achieve the same level of viewership as AWKWARD, the show did experience a rise in month-to-month viewers. This increase can mostly be attributed to the built-in end of season ratings bump (the show closed out its second season on the 13th of the month).
While MTV generally had an increase in monthly viewers, SNOOKI & JWOWW did not share in the rating gains. Regardless of the fact that all four of the show’s premiere episodes ranked within the top 20 telecasts of the month, SNOOKI was still down 8% from July. Despite a disappointing season, the show was confirmed for a second season as of August 3rd.
In late August, the network introduced THE INBETWEENERS – the latest addition to its collection of scripted programming. The new show, adapted from an original British format, debuted to modest ratings. Following the initial episode, the numbers slipped even further – suggesting that MTV may have committed its first scripted misstep since Skins.