Several years after launch, the schedule grid still provides very little consistency week to week. Themed nights are the order of the day, filled with short series, long series, and single hours in between. There is a fairly large spread among the average ages of the audience night to night.
MARCH 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / March 2012 vs. March 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Science Channel is continuing to make progress, and numbers in March were quite optimistic. The network that only a few months ago was airing HOW IT'S MADE 58 times during primetime has cut its reliance down on the staple (the show appeared only 20 times in March) and is making some clear leaps and bounds with its original programming. Year to year numbers are up overall and across all the key demos. Ratings don't vary too widely across the nights of the week, though there is a fairly significant age spread.
Mondays in March were the strongest nights of the week for Science - but also one of the oldest. Documentary WHEN YELLOWSTONE ERUPTS was frightening enough to scare up a lot of viewers - and big numbers. Lead-out JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH was the top program for March.
Tuesday nights saw solid growth among the younger demographics, and the night is one of the youngest of the week. THROUGH THE WORMHOLE and ALIEN ENCOUNTERS scored above-average - but older staples ODDITIES and MONSTER BUG WARS failed to deliver.
Wednesday and Thursday nights have been showing a pattern of strong growth over the last few months. PROPHETS OF SCIENCE FICTION is catchy enough, and HOW THE UNIVERSE WORKS delivers solid numbers as well. Thursday is one of the few nights of the week to have a consistent schedule. HOW IT'S MADE always seems to deliver above-average numbers; newcomer COLD DIGGERS not so much.
Fridays are up overall from a year ago, and numbers across a haphazard schedule hover just around average in March. Saturdays and Sundays tell a similar story, with episodes of HOW IT'S MADE delivering all the time and returning staples below average.
But still, despite cutting back a reliance on HOW IT'S MADE, Science is demonstrating that their originals do have staying power. Careful scheduling decisions, key acquisitions, and strong development will all be important in the remainder of 2012.