TruTV Performance/Schedule Analysis - August 2008

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PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of September 21, 2008)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

Adults 18-49, Adults 25-54.

AUGUST 2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

MOST SHOCKING, SMOKING GUN PRESENTS, OPERATION REPO, DISORDER IN THE COURT, BEACH PATROL, INSIDE, OCEAN FORCE, PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Original series dominate TruTV's primetime schedule.  The only acquired program is COPS. Since most of their series provide a different take in the area of criminal law and justice, there are no thematic evenings distinct from one another, rather a relatively even distribution of original series.  A heavy reliance on FORENSIC FILES and a handful of other series dominates the schedule.   

As new series are introduced to the schedule, the network created a few generic slots across the week for repeats.  The additional exhibitions in short bursts of 2-4 weeks give their new titles a chance to gain recognition with the casual viewer.  When a series does break out, like MOST SHOCKING, they have moved it into a regular timeslot.

With the transition of the network to TruTv at the beginning of 2008, the crime and investigation focus has been replaced with a broader, non-fiction/reality mix of programs.  While the existing base of crime series continues, new programming explores topics as diverse as oil wildcatters, con artists, and tornado chasers.

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

JULY to AUGUST:

Monday - entire night changes; two hours of OCEAN FORCE move into the 8-10pm block, followed by a series of DISORDER IN THE COURT specials at 10pm

Tuesday - WORLD'S WILDEST shifts to Friday and BLACK GOLD finishes up, leaving the 9-11pm block to a mix of inventory repeats

Wednesday - BLACK GOLD wraps up its first season at 10pm; premiere series LA STRINGERS takes over the timeslot

Thursday - SMOKING GUN PRESENTS slides back to 10pm, creating room for the debut of PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE at 9pm

Friday - WORLD'S WILDEST comes over from Tuesday, replacing CRISIS POINT at 8pm; RICH & RECKLESS drops out for a new season of SUBURBAN SECRETS at 10pm

Saturday - Back to back episodes of PSYCHIC DETECTIVES pushes DOMINICK DUNNE off the schedule at 10pm

Sunday - repeats of MOST SHOCKING take over at 9pm; CRISIS POINT ends and is replaced by a variety of repeats at 10pm

PREMIERES:

** August 20th - STRINGERS: LA
** August 21st - THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE

SEPTEMBER AND BEYOND:

PREMIERES:

** September 8th - OCEAN FORCE: DEWEY BEACH
** October 16th - DRIVING ME MAD
** October 20th - SKI PATROL


YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

Network held it's own in August given the Olympic juggernaut over a two week period.  Audiences followed the previous months' patterns, although with less drama.  Total households were down by 25%, mostly older folks as median also dropped 9%.  Men were on par with last year and women were down about 20% with shift from a female to a male target continues.  Male skew was not quite as pronounced this month, right around 52%, but that's still a far cry from the 46% for last year. 

Although the news is generally positive, there are some signs of trouble ahead.  Newer series aren't clicking so well, and the network's cohesiveness seem to be lost as the editoral base broadens.  More details in the monthly analysis below.

AUGUST 2008 RATINGS ANALYSIS:


Mondays are one of only two nights to show improvement over last year, albeit in small doses.  The Olympics weeks were definitely off, but premieres of OCEAN FORCE the rest of the month were enough to give the night a spark.

Tuesdays were hurt by the Beijing games.  Worse, the night didn't bounce back in the last week with some repeats of new series LA STRINGERS.  Last year's COPS stack held up better, even with Men 25-54.

Wednesdays rose considerably with men, mostly a result of last year just being awful.  BLACK GOLD finished up its run with some unremarkable performances.  Sadly, the series was a lost opportunity.  Reflective of the new brand, but surrounded by incompatible programming it never got its feet set after the initial premiere.  LA STRINGERS debuted in the second week of the Olympics.  Maybe they were trying to grab an audience as the games started to fade?  Whatever the strategy, the premiere numbers were weak.  Series showed some improvement in the post Olympics week, but not much.  We'll have to wait and see if this inside look at tabloid photographers can hold on with the new brand. 

Thursdays were destined to have a tough time in year to year comparisons.  Last year we saw a big hit with INSIDE AMERICAN JAIL.  With Beijing taking over most of the month, matching that audience was going to take a lot.  This year's offerings just weren't up to the task.  Clip show SMOKING GUN was OK.  A few premieres for SPEEDERS were average.  Interestingly, premiere episodes of SPEEDERS experienced their lowest audience numbers after the Olympics.  Debut series PRINCIPALS'S OFFICE may be on the wrong network.  Nice concept, but the female skew is largely inconsistent with the new target for the network brand.

Fridays were down massively across the board.  The return of the pre-transition crime based series drew far more women that last month, but therein lies the concern.  The network is moving male as the night moves female.  No traction. 

Saturdays are the only night to show annual increases across each demo.  That's the good news.  Bad news is the night is still the network's lowest rated by far.  Nevertheless, small steps.

Sundays last year had COPS at its peak.  No surprise to see the night fall from there.  Olympics had some impact, as did the mix of inventory repeats at 10pm.  However, the night still performed better than the network's averages in both male demos.  Something to build on.

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

None announced.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

None announced.

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

HAUNTING EVIDENCE, BEACH PATROL, HOLLYWOOD HEAT, NORTH MISSION ROAD, SUBURBAN SECRETS

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