Oprah Winfrey Network Analysis

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

OWN launched by sprinkling Oprah-associated series on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, and the schedule is evolving as new series roll out. By 2012, original series episodes aired every night except Thursday, although the schedule continues to shift significantly from week to week.

Current series include medical mysteries, self-help, and celebrity-driven reality.  OPRAH'S LIFE CLASS  and OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER keep the networks titular head front and center.

Off-Broadcast series 48 HOURS: HARD EVIDENCE and UNDERCOVER BOSS supplement original series, specials and Movies.

APRIL 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / April 2012 vs. April 2011  (% Change)

 

 

HH

W18-49

W25-54

 

Monday 8-11pm

 

38%

63%

67%

 

Tuesday 8-11pm

 

-6%

-31%

-10%

 

Wednesday 8-11pm

 

20%

-9%

8%

 

Thursday 8-11pm

 

-25%

-25%

-30%

 

Friday 8-11pm

 

-29%

-55%

-46%

 

Saturday 8-11pm

 

44%

82%

71%

 

Sunday 8-11pm

 

-7%

0%

0%

 

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

 

6%

0%

8%

 

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

This is the fourth survey where OWN  is competing against its "own" ratings from the previous year. (Until 2012, the network was compared to the final months of DSC Health, the network it replaced.)

April ushered in yet more schedule changes, with five nights overhauled, and lots of "various" showing up on the grid. This follows a March that featured a more consistent scheduling strategy from week to week. Ratings were down sharply from March, with demos declining in the 30% range from last month. Looking at last year's numbers, there was a lot of volatility depending on the day of the week, with only Sunday night equaling April 2011. Monday, Wednesday and Saturday grew substantially, while Tuesday, Thursday and Friday suffered significant drops from 2011.

We're seeing more reliance on two- and three-hour Prime blocks of series like  SOLVED  and WELCOME TO SWEETIE PIES. While this can build a growing audience with a popular series like Season 2 of SWEETIE PIES, running  a freshman series like SOLVED  on two non-consecutive weeks among a variety of other fare can be a challenge to audience-building. It led Friday to 50% demo losses from last year's JUDDS/ MASTER CLASS driven line-up, and a 40% drop from last month's ON THE CASE  block.

On Monday, the debut of OPRAH'S LIFE CLASS 8-10pm, and 10pm BREAKTHROUGH replaced the March 8-11pm block of OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER. This kept Monday in the 60-70% growth range over last year and flat with last month's strong delivery. BREAKTHROUGH only held 60% of the OPRAH'S LIFE CLASS demo lead-in, however.

On Tuesday a mix of  blocks of UNDERCOVER BOSS ABROAD, UNUSUAL SUSPECTS,  WHAT WOULD YOU DO and BEYOND BELIEF delivered similar demos from week to week, but dropped 1/3 of last year's rating for younger women. Demos were down in the mid-teen percentages from last month.

Wednesday's block of 48 HOURS: HARD EVIDENCE was replaced by a variety of programming for three of the five weeks of the April survey. A block of  new series WHO THE BLEEP DID I MARRY was the most successful foray, delivering consistent viewership throughout the evening, earning fourth place among all programs for HH and RW25-54 for OWN this month. .

None of the Thursday Movies stood out this month, while Friday's Crime theme continues, as a variety of (mostly) Mystery-related series replaced ON THE CASE from March. SOLVED filled Week1 and Week 3, dropping from 8-11pm, but still performing better than blocks of STOLEN VOICES, BURIED SECRETS  and BEVERLY'S FULL HOUSE. The night as a whole suffered the steepest annual losses of the month, as well as the second-worst drop from March.

Saturday demos grew sharply against last year for the second month in a row as 8-10pm SWEETIE PIES  and 10PM BEVERLY'S FULL HOUSE replaced the March block of  UNFAITHFUL: STORIES OF BETRAYAL. Demo delivery was up in the 20-30% range from March, as SWEETIE PIES consistently grew at 9p, providing a strong, similar-appeal lead-in for BEVERLY'S FULL HOUSE. SWEETIE PIES ended the month as the network's #1 series for RW25-54.

Without the March OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER interview with Whitney Houston's daughter, following the special REMEMBERING WHITNEY, Sunday dropped 60% of last month's demo delivery, with much the same lineup. Delivery was flat with last year's debut of THE JUDDS on Sundays in April.

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