National Geographic Channel Analysis - September 2011

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SEPTEMBER 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

NGC continues to mix anthologies such as NAT GEO PRESENTS and EXPLORER with series both new (FISH WARRIOR) and time-honored (INSIDE). Stunt scheduling utilizes multiple runs of popular series or thematically-similar specials slotted to maximize audience flow.

The Anthologies are utilized to house series as well as one-offs and mini-series. Premiere episodes of series often repeat the following week under one of the anthology umbrellas (e.g NGC FRIDAY) as a lead-in to the current week's new episode of the same series.

Monday and Tuesday are generally anthology driven, while Wednesday is expanding from a crime-oriented focus to other genres that might be considered on the "sensational" side for NGC.

Thursday remains Science & Technology-themed for the present time, while previously Dog-oriented  Friday and Natural History-centric Saturday are experimenting with a number of genres, now that all animal-related fare is migrating to sister network Nat Geo Wild. Sundays are anthology slots used for specials, themed stacks and one-offs.

SEPTEMBER 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison /September 2011 vs. September 2010  (% Change)

HH

P18-49

P25-54

Monday 8-11pm

8%

-8%

0%

Tuesday 8-11pm

33%

45%

29%

Wednesday 8-11pm

12%

6%

10%

Thursday 8-11pm

65%

86%

78%

Friday 8-11pm

11%

29%

10%

Saturday 8-11pm

40%

10%

18%

Sunday 8-11pm

2%

26%

14%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

24%

25%

21%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

NGC showed solid gains for the third month in a row in September, with significant growth in HH and/or demo ratings on five nights.  The ratings high point was the first week of the survey, featuring numerous 9/11-related specials, most repeats. September was essentially flat overall compared to August.

Monday's top NG PRESENTS offerings were a one-night block of 9/11 related specials. While the night was essentially flat with last year, delivery was off 20-30% across the board from August.

Tuesday showed strong growth for A18-49 for the fourth month in a row, also boosted by 9/11-repated specials. New series FRONTIER FORCE debuted at 10pm, following a 9pm repeat of the previous week's premiere. From Week 1 to Week 3, FRONTIER FORCE grew 43% for A18-49 and 47% for A25-54, with younger women growing over 100%  within that period for the 10p telecast. This growth was despite a weak overall lead-in from 8pm ALASKA WING MEN, running under NAT GEO PRESENTS, which earned only half of the Prime average for A18-49.

Where Wednesday's INSIDE anthology was usually filled with episodes of TABOO, LOCKED UP ABROAD or BREAKOUT in August, blocks of BORDER WARS episodes filled that function the final three weeks of the September survey. As with Monday and Tuesday, though, the month's highest rated night came from a block of 9/11-related specials in Week 1. Men demos were up by over 1/3 from August, with modest across-the-board growth from last year resulting from each night's hour-to-hour growth across BORDER WARS episodes.

Thursday's Science-themed block continued to grow in September, after decisively breaking a twelve-month string of  year-to-year demo losses in July. Besides the top-rated 9/11 specials on Week 1, none of the other offerings stood out on this night. Delivery was up in the 30% range from last month, however.

JURASSIC CSI continued to struggle on Friday at 8pm, as the night depended on 9/11 specials to earn increased viewership from September 2010. While Female demos were up from last month, overall NGC skews 2/3 Male in Prime, so fluctuations in the latter demo have a greater overall effect.

Saturday was up modestly in RP18-49 and 25-54, driven by yet another block of 9/11 specials, as well as runs of ALASKA STATE TROOPERS  and FRONTIER FORCE in the Super Saturday anthology.

Drug-related mini-series, BORDER WARS  and a repeat of last month's exclusive interview with President GW Bush on his experiences on 9/11, led to significant demo growth for Sunday. Numbers were down in the 20-30% range overall from August, which was boosted by the premiere of the Bush interview.

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