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TBS Performance/Schedule Analysis - July 2008 - Broadcasting & Cable

TBS Performance/Schedule Analysis - July 2008

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of August 23, 2008)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49 & Adults 25-54.

JULY 2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS

HOUSE OF PAYNE, FAMILY GUY, THE BILL ENGVALL SHOW

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

TBS runs original and off-net sitcoms in back-to back one or two hour blocks from Monday to Thursday. Friday is usually a one hour block of off net sitcoms followed by DINNER AND A MOVIE. Weekend prime is all movies.

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

JUNE - JULY 2008:

No changes this month.

FINALES:

** August 7 @ 9PM: THE BILL ENGVALL SHOW
** August 7 @ 10PM: MY BOYS

MLB:  SUNDAY MLB ON TBS includes regular-season games each Sunday afternoon throughout the regular season, which began April 6th. The network also televised the MLB All-Star Selection Show on Sunday, July 6th, and will cover the Division Series in October and, for the first time, exclusive coverage of the American League Championship Series (ALCS).

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

Once again, TBS showed tremendous improvement over last year. Core target men 18-49 ratings and share are up by one-third, and median age is down by 17%. Women improved by about 15%, and men 25-54 were up by 20%. Not bad, considering July '07 was a stellar month.

Best nights for improvement among men 18-49 were Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The Tuesday night line-up is a perfect example of the network's new strategy. July 2007 was predominantly RAYMOND, SEX AND THE CITY and BRAVES BASEBALL.  The line-up this year is 4 straight episodes of FAMILY GUY followed by an hour of THE OFFICE. The results? The median age for TBS' Tuesday night viewers dropped by an incredible -40%. Men 18-49 ratings grew +81% while women 25-54 dropped by -10%.  (Women 18-49 were up +21%).

So, here's the formula. As much FAMILY GUY as possible (10 runs a week vs. 2), male-oriented everyman comedy over single-female metropolitan comedy, and no baseball in primetime = a very happy TBS.

HOUSE OF PAYNE , which jump-started TBS' turnaround last year was back with 16 new episodes this year (Wednesdays) vs. six last year. Numbers were down a bit (-8%) for women 18-49, but up +21% among men 18-49. It is still the best-rated program on both households and women, and the multiple runs helped bring up Wednesday ratings by +63% for men 18-49, +17% for women 18-49.  Thursday's success stems from TBS originals MY BOYS and BILL ENGVALL, while Saturday's success was all about the movie titles (Fun With Dick and Jane, Men in Black).

The network has designated Friday night as date night, with DINNER AND A MOVIE, and titles like Save the Last Dance. Women seem to like the romance, with a 37% ratings improvement, but it is the only night where men 18-49 showed no growth over last year.

JULY 2008 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

TBS had the same exact line-up as last month, and the bottom-line primetime numbers did not move much either. Ratings were flat to very, very, very slightly up (+1% to +3%) while shares improved by +5% to +10%.

Night-by-night changes aren't that dramatic either. Of the four sitcom-programmed nights (Monday through Thursday), Monday was the only night that was off among core younger men (-17% ratings). Tuesday and Wednesday share was slightly up, while ratings were flat. Thursday's share increased 14% and ratings increased five percent. So net-net, no change.

Movies were a similar story.  While there was a lot of movement night-by-night, Friday's losses were more than off-set by Saturday and Sunday gains.

It's a competitive programming environment out there for cable this summer, and TBS' program specific performance paints a worse picture for TBS than its Monday through Thursday night-by-night numbers. FAMILY GUY, which is the foundation of the sitcom line-up with 40 primetime telecasts, slid in ratings again. Men 18-49 ratings are down -10%.  Monday night's MY NAME IS EARL was off by about the same. On Tuesdays, THE OFFICE was up slightly vs. last month. HOUSE OF PAYNE gained some male viewers, but lost 10% of its core women 18-49 ratings. On Thursdays MY BOYS and BILL ENGVALL both dropped -6% of their men 18-49 share, with bigger declines for women 18-49 (-14% and -21% respectively).

HOUSE OF PAYNE remains the highest rated program among women, and FAMILY GUY is best among men. The two programs dominate the top telecast list, as usual, but this month there are quite a few movies making inroads. Last Holiday, Fun With Dick and Jane and Ocean's 11 were all star performers this month. (In fact, TBS' Sunday July 20 run of Ocean's 11 blew away USA's Saturday July 19th telecast of Ocean's 12.)

And so, TBS is hanging in there...holding its own in a summer that has seen more original programming than ever. TBS has a good programming strategy, solid scheduling  and unique branding, which should help it launch some much-needed new hits from its lengthy development slate.

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

COMEDY FESTIVALS: TBS is strengthening its position as the new home for comedy festivals while HBO is turning away. TBS unveiled a new five-day Chicago summer festival, set to launch in 2009. TBS also said it will air the fourth annual Comedy Festival in Las Vegas in November. "We're ready to dive into the festival arena full force," said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. "These events are a perfect opportunity for TBS to showcase some of the best talents in the comedy industry and to expand the reach of our brand in exciting new ways. We will use the festivals as a mike to talk to comedy fans in a 360-degree way all year and offer cross-platform marketing opportunities," he said. (Hollywood Reporter)

MOVIES: TNT and sister network TBS are joining the crowds on signing up for theatrical prebuys, obtaining the cable-TV rights to four high-visibility movies set for release by New Line and Picturehouse later this year: The Women, Journey to the Center of the Earth, the Zac Efron vehicle 17 Again and the Vince Vaughn-Reese Witherspoon comedy Four Christmases.

TBS signed a Lionsgate deal valued between $8 and $10 million, which also included pre-buys. Titles include Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns (begins 2010) and Larry the Cable Guy's Witless Protection (begins 2010), allowing TBS to lock in those franchises. Other titles include Lord of War, with Nicolas Cage, and In the Mix, starring Usher, which will become available this spring.

At the end of February, TBS and TNT completed a big movie purchase from WB. As is the recent trend, many of the titles were bought on a pre-buy basis. Among the titles likely to appear on TBS are Get Smart, with Steve Carell, and Jim Carrey's Yes Man. TBS will be able to start running Ant Bully in June. The rest of the movies will trickle in to the two networks throughout 2010 and 2011.

A $12 million Lionsgate movie package was sold to TBS and sister network TNT, and includes titles such as Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married and Daddy's Little Girls, Bernie Mac's Pride and Bill Engvall's Delta Force.

Rush Hour 3 from New Line begins airing in 2010, Fracture begins in 2009.

LATEST PROGRAM RENEWALS:

TYLER PERRY'S HOUSE OF PAYNE: 26 extra episodes ordered. (in addition to the original 100 episode order)

LATEST PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

None.

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