OWN launched by sprinkling Oprah-associated series on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, and the schedule is evolving as new series roll out. By 2nd Quarter 2011, original series episodes aired every night except Saturday, although the schedule continues to shift significantly from week to week.
Current series include medical mysteries, self-help, and celebrity-driven reality. Specials and series from Discovery Health have diminished as new original series launched, with some renewed for subsequent seasons.
The Prime scheduling strategy shifted in October, when the re-purposed "best-of-25-year-of-OPRAH" strip OPRAH'S LIFE CLASS premiered weeknights at 8pm, following a 7pm strip of the new Rosie O'Donnell chat skein. Two months later, this scheduling strategy was scrapped, with the return of DR. PHIL to 8pm, joined by a variety of other new and returning series.
DECEMBER 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / December 2011 vs. DSC Health December 2010 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
OWN launched 1/1/2011 to great media fanfare. For annual comparison purposes, we will look to the ratings of Discovery Health, which previously occupied OWN's channel position.
Every night saw major schedule changes in December, with HH and demo losses growing steeper from those suffered last month. After two months driven by OPRAH'S LIFE CLASS and an expanded footprint for fellow-freshman series WELCOME TO SWEETIE PIES, December saw a return to a more varied approach to scheduling In fact, there were only two hours of Oprah-hosted programming the entire month.
Women demos dropped slightly from November 2011, and dropped over 20% from December 2011, when Discovery Health was winding down in anticipation of the transition to OWN.
Each night suffered significant annual losses for the second month in a row.
While Discovery Health was also driven by Female viewers, OWN has been skewing significantly older since its launch. This trend continued in December 2011, with the Median Age having risen 6% over December 2010.
On Monday, the winner of YOUR OWN SHOW's Prime time slot, ROLLIN 'WITH ZACH, premiered four half-hour episodes the last two weeks of the survey. In each case the show's ratings were well below Prime average, and lost viewership in the second half-hour.
Tuesday's highlight was a block of PRISON WIVES during Week 4, which doubled the Prime HH Rating and was 150% above the average demo rating for younger women. Despite that strength, the night as a whole was up 14% in Median Age over Discovery Health at the end of 2010.
Wednesday was the only night to equal Discovery Health's delivery of W25-54, helped by a one night block of 48 HOURS: HARD EVIDENCE, as well as the second of two DR. PHIL blocks. The loss of over 1/4 of last year's RW18-49 resulted in a 25% increase in Median Ag for the night as a whole.
Thursday's sole highight was the OWN Documentary ONE LUCKY ELEPHANT, which nearly double the network's Prime average for HH Rtg. Demos for the night as a whole were up 1/3 over last month .
OWN's Top four specials this month, all dealing with some aspect of Obesity, ran on the weekend. Demos were up modestly over November on Friday and Sunday, assisted by these, as well as the two-part Movie THE WEDDING and a block of UNDERCOVER BOSS. A block of the recently introduced series SOLVED grew sharply from 8-11pm on the final Saturday of the survey.