TBS Analysis - October 2011

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Monday night starts the week with a strong FAMILY GUY block, and Tuesday is a straight stack of THE BIG BANG THEORY. The two programs mix it up on Wednesday and Thursday nights with FAMILY GUY leading into THE BIG BANG THEORY, which then leads into CONAN. Friday is the new Wednesday AT TBS;  Tyler Perry programming and ARE WE THERE YET? bring women and African-American viewers to the network on Friday nights. The weekend is mostly about movies, with FAMILY GUY or THE BIG BANG THEORY occasionally acting as a lead in.

OCTOBER 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

LIVE PRIMETIME RATINGS COMPARISON October 2011 vs. October 2010 (% Change)

HH

M18-49

W18-49

Monday 8-11pm

 -22%

  -26%

-16%

Tuesday 8-11pm

 -22%

  -28%

 -1%

Wednesday 8-11pm

 -1%

   13%

-23%

Thursday 8-11pm

 79%

   71%

52%

Friday 8-11pm

-31%

   -35%

-22%

Saturday 8-11pm

 6%

   13%

 14%

Sunday 8-11pm

  9%

    21%

  0%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-5%

  -6%

-4%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

OCTOBER 2011: TBS’ big month is here, with post-season MLB games hitting 13 nights of primetime and driving up ratings to their annual peak. This year’s bottom-line ratings were just 5% lower than last year’s, which is the best year over year comparison of 2011. In fact, it is the first time this year the percentage drop was in the single digits.

The MLB Division Series ratings were 11% better than last year, even with last year’s record-breaking Rangers v Yankees match-up. But the best thing to happen to the schedule was some long-awaited relief for FAMILY GUY. The raunchy comedy has been carrying TBS for years, and the weight had become too much for one animated sitcom to bear. TBS took notice, and paid large sums for THE BIG BANG THEORY. The program is resonating with viewers as evidenced by its top ranking among regular programming this month. It also topped its TBS September debut average adult 18-49 rating by 15%.

Meanwhile, FAMILY GUY is being used on the weekly schedule as much as ever, but with baseball pre-empting primetime programming it had fewer runs over the course of the month. Bottom line, adult 18-49 ratings improved 3% over last month and fell by 15% over last year. You can be sure TBS will continue to tinker with the mix to find the best scheduling strategy.

Friday night is the new night for Tyler Perry’s programs MEET THE BROWNS and HOUSE OF PAYNE. This programming turned around Wednesday nights for the net, bringing in a lot of women and African American viewers. But with audiences eroding and Conan craving young male viewers, the female skewing fare was bumped to Friday nights. With baseball in the mix it is too soon to tell how the move will affect the programs. For now, the pacing is similar to the Wednesday night performances; HOUSE OF PAYNE is slightly up and MEET THE BROWNS is bleeding audience. Specifically, women 18-49 ratings vs. last year are up 11% for PAYNE and down 51% for BROWNS. Compared to last month HOUSE is up 2% and BROWNS is down 7%.

Between baseball and THE BIG BANG THEORY, movies had less airtime than usual. The titles skewed male this month, and top performers were Transformers and Shooter. TBS is trying out VERY FUNNY NEWS, which is similar to TNT’s DINNER AND A MOVIE skein, where the network brands the movies with humorous bump ins.

Early signs are positive, but we won’t be able to see if TBS’ new programming efforts will prove successful until after the proverbial baseball dust settles.

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