National Geographic Channel Performance/Schedule Analysis - December 2007

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

 (Updated as of January 21, 2008)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

Adults 25-54

DECEMBER 2007 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

Most of the National Geographic Channel’s lineup is one-offs, under various Strand names.  But this month as in November, the scheduling seemed a bit more thematic, that is:  a night of space programming; a night of science; a night of crime, a DINO event, a DOG WHISPERER week….that sort of thing. You’ll see that it definitely worked, just as it did last month.  Short of series, it’s the way to go.  We’ll break out which titles in each Strand worked best. Looking at the top telecasts is a better indicator, we feel, of what works best in prime for National Geographic, based on their strategy and scheduling. 

TABOO is legitimately the top series, and, with the Strand, WHAT HAPPENED, the only  two series that over-performed prime.  (But lost in  the data is the fact that DINO AUTOPSY was far and away the top ranked one-off…by a margin of 20%.  Why it’s not ranked in the list, is a mystery to  us.  But we figured it out.)

Best of the one-offs:  OUTLAW BIKERS: MASTERS OF MAYHEM and HELL’S ANGELS (#1 and #2 telecasts, and MASTERS was also #10 in a repeat a month later); CHINA’S SECRET MUMMIES; LOST WARRIOR KINGDOM; TUT’S TREASURES; HOWARD HUGHES REVEALED.

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

At the core of the Society’s mission:   “to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet.”  Interesting statement on their website:  “National Geographic Channel is the only place in the world where you can watch all our programs around the clock. Our specials on other channels are just that—  specials.” It’s true that their daytime looks a lot like prime. That’s happening on more than a few networks these days (main competitor Discovery, for one).   But unlike Discovery, their prime isn’t repeating in prime ad infinitum.

So the strategies are, somewhat needless to say,  all over the map………that is to say, filled with one-offs, or anthology series or “Various”.   Many nights, as we indicated above, different Strands have the same subject;  Monday is all over the map (bikers, jails, dinosaurs, religion and animals)  );  Tuesday is more of an investigation night (be it history or anthropology)  =); Wednesday, all over the map, too; Thursday is decidedly science; Friday stays DOG WHISPERER; Saturday is WILD (as in animals) and Sunday, a Strand night.

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

NOVEMBER - DECEMBER:

Lots and lots of different titles and themes within the Strands, but a schedule change that does not make, per se. A couple of Stunts:  DOG WHISPERER WEEK and a night of MYSTERIES OF THE BIBLE.

Otherwise, it’s Strands or various every other night.

AND BEYOND:

Just about the same as always, isolating every series change to “Various” would be a nightmare…but that’s kinda how the schedule comes together.   As mentioned earlier, essence of the Nat Geo strategy is to run a good deal of one-offs in or out of existing Strands. EXPLORER is a Wednesday 8pm fixture, with INSIDE AT 9pm.  TABOO pretty much stays Wednesday at 10pm.  DOG WHISPERER owns all or at least 2/3 of Friday night,  with a new series, DOG TOWN, in at 9pm and gets a stunt holiday week with 2 hours a night for 6 nights

Here are the one-offs, subjects and specials coming your way from Nat Geo Channel in the coming weeks:    TORNADO INTERCEPT; TWISTER CHASERS; ULTIMATE TORNADO (a theme night for those three); a night of 3 HOOKED! Episodes; GUNS; SCIENCE OF OBESITY/GIGANTISM and DWARFISM (another theme night); TSUNAMI: DAY OF DESTRUCTION; AMERICAN SKINHEADS; LOCKDOWN:  WOMEN BEHIND BARS (no relation to the CABLEready-distributed, Burrud Films produced, WE TV telecasted WOMEN BEHIND BARS);  LOCKDOWN: FIRST TIMERS; BOUNTY HUNTERS; SAN QUENTIN UNLOCKED; THUNDERBEAST; SECRET YELLOWSTONE; THE REAL WILD WEST; A MAN AMONG WOLVES; POLICE TECH; CRASH SCIENCE; HAUNT OF THE HIPPO; PIRATE CODE; REAL ROSWELL; UFO’S SEEING IS BELIEVING.

Saturday’s WILD gets these upcoming critters: the series DANGEROUS ENCOUNTERS and HUNTER AND HUNTED..AMERICA INDIA and the AMAZON’S DEADLY DOZEN; but there’s also AMERICAN SKINHEADS, wild, yes, but not WILD!

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

We think Nat Geo is still looking good year-to-year:  HH may have been flat (in share at least – they’re up in totals), but all demos were up, some as high as 50%.  And they got younger by 4%.

Program-wise, just about everything was up somewhere…DOG WHISPERER in all demos; EXPLORER up big in young men;  NAKED SCIENCE delivered more men.  Only WILD went down noticeably and WHAT HAPPENED was flat.

DECEMBER  2007 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS

National Geographic was up nicely from November, too….+25% in HH, +20% in m 18-49 and +33% in w 25-54.   Only Sunday night appeared to have any problems….as we shall soon see!

Monday – A night that grew slightly with men..the two OUTLAW BIKERS get the credit for that.  Big night the first week, though JUNGLE BREAKOUT dropped over 50% from that lead-in/  Best at 8pm:  THE REAL MARY MAGDALENE (in fact, that whole MYSTERIES OF THE BIBLE night did well);  not so THE GREAT BETRAYAL or PREHISTORIC PREDATORS: SABERTOOTH.

Tuesday - #2 night across the board, and it’s up in every category, too, especially women.  HOWARD HUGHES REVEALED and that nights contribution to DOG WHISPERER week brought ‘em in.   DECODING THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS, DECODING BIBLE RELICS and LOST WARRIOR KINGDOM (that MYSTERIES OF THE BIBLE night) delivered the best Tuesday overall.   UNLOCKING DAVINCI’S CODE, SUPERCARRIER and SECRETS OF SIBERIAN MUMMY underperformed.

Wednesday – HH were up, young men were down.  The best performers?  A paradox….TABOO: NUDITY and JESUS: THE MAN.  Both were  above  the night’s average.  Only ULTIMATE SHARK, TORNADO INTERCEPT and CONQUERING NIAGARA were below average.

Thursday – Young men and all women increased.  Youngest night of the week, but not by much.  ULTIMATE FACTORIES: CORVETTE; a DOG WHISPERER and DEADLIEST PLANETS scored bigger than most.  SUPER ROADS; SUPER SEWER; INCREDIBLE ISLANDS; IMPOSSIBLE HOTEL; PREHISTORIC AMERICANS and BIRTH OF THE EARTH did not.  ULTIMATE FACTORIES had the best growth of the Thursdays.

Friday -  Cesar and the doggies night, with a one-off in at 10pm, vs. the usual DOG WHISPERER.  Night was down a bit with 25-54 women.  MOONSHINE and CHUPACABRA did best at 10pm.  INDIA’S HIDDEN PLAGUE and CHRISTMAS OUT OF THE BOX fell off from the WHISPERER lead-in.

Saturday – Lowest night of the week – pretty much the norm for any network.  FISHZILLA worked, as did
HOOKED: CAUGHT BARE-HANDED; OUTLAW BIKERS: MASTERS OF MAYHEM; ASIA-PACIFIC DEADLY DOZEN (a DANGEROUS ENCOUNTERS episode).  Not so TUT’S TREASURES; KING TUT AND THE LOST DYNASTY or ANIMAL ODDITIES.

Sunday – The big night…in titles as well as performance.  Top HH and demo night of the week for Nat Geo.  Now, the not-so-good news:  it dropped in 18-49s 25% in December.  And, wow!  Did it get older - +22% and it’s the oldest night of the week.  Great performance for the DINO EVENT, especially DINO AUTOPSY.  TUT’S TREASURES worked here, as did ATF K-9 GAVIN (a dog cop for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms).  ANCIENT ASTEROID and 2 LOCKDOWNS were noticeably below the others.

LATEST ACQUISITIONS:

MUMMY WHO CAME FROM THE COLD; WILD WEST UNCOVERED (See IN DEVELOPMENT)

LATEST PROGRAM RENEWALS:

TABOO; DOG WHISPERER, EXPLORER, FIGHT SCIENCE, NAKED SCIENCE, ULTIMATE FACTORIES

LATEST PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

BE THE CREATURE, LIVING WILD, MOST EXTREME JOBS, , TOTALLY WILD, ULTIMATE DISASTER, UNDERCOVER HISTORY, HUNTER AND HUNTED, PLANET CARNIVORE, MEGA MOVERS; MEGA STRUCTURES,  INCREDIBLE HUMAN MACHINE; THRILL ZONE; TRIBAL SECRETS

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