Vh1 Analysis - February 2010

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FEBRUARY 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

VH1 continues to have success with home-grown series, often built around Reality "stars" from earlier series (e.g. NEW YORK GOES TO WORK featuring a former FLAVOR OF LOVE contestant.) VH1's primetime lineup is very fluid in nature, leading to a lot of "Various" programs on their schedule grid.

VH1 will occasionally stack night of programming and air episodes of the same show back-to-back-to-back.  This can prove extremely successful for them, especially when they use these mini-marathons to premiere the latest episodes of their original series. Episodes of new series tend to receive multiple Prime plays during the week each episode premieres.

Music-oriented fare continues to make its presence felt on VH1, with survey-oriented specials (100 GREATEST...) joining occasional new epsiodes of the venerable BEHIND THE MUSIC series, along with concert specials and documentaries.

FEBRUARY 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / February 2010 vs. February 2009  (% Change)

HH

P18-49

Monday 8-11pm

-35%

-32%

Tuesday 8-11pm

 -15%

-3%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-14%

-9%

Thursday 8-11pm

-8%

-6%

Friday 8-11pm

-26%

-20%

Saturday 8-11pm

-3%

-12%

Sunday 8-11pm

-21%

-23%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-20%

-19%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

February 2010 continued the year-to-year losses from the last three months. In February, five nights experienced double-digit HH losses from the same month last year, and demo delivery was down significantly on all but three nights. Male demos declined by 1/5 from January, as well. In addition to this 4-month streak of year-to-year losses, February's Prime Median Age crept up by 12% compared to last year.

Only three Prime timeslots enjoyed uninterrupted series scheduling - Monday's 9p FOR THE LOVE OF RAY JAY 2,  and 1030p LETS TALK ABOUT PEP. The final premiere episode of RAY JAY 2 at 9p on the first Monday of the month was the highest-rated single program of the survey for VH1, while the following week's highly-rated "Reunion" episode led into the premiere of CELBRITY FIT CLUB 7, the #2 program for February. Last month's two top series, FANTASIA FOR REAL  at 10p, followed by LET'S TALK ABOUT PEP at 1030p, dropped precipitously, losing 1/3 and 1/4, respectively, of their January launch HH RTG in February.

Tuesdays started with a variety of offerings, including two runs of the premiering CELEBRITY FIT CLUB 7, leading into the off-Logo series RUPAULS DRAG RACE, which led the pack each Tuesday in February. The night as a whole was down modestly from last year but grew in HH and, especially female demos over last month.

New episodes of CELEBRITY REHAB 3 and the premiere of doc series FAMOUS CRIME SCENES joined the movies, series blocks and specials that fill Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. With 16 runs in various time periods this month, compared to nine in January, Thursday's CELEB REHAB 3 dropped sharply from last months premiere, down 28% in HH and 34% for the demo. Despite this, Thursday's year-to-year demo loss was minimal.
Friday suffered double-digit losses from last year and last month, in large part due to the debut of FAMOUS CRIME SCENES, which significanlty underdelivered VH1's average HH and demo ratings for the month.

Soul music came to the rescue on Movie-centric Saturday, with THE TEMPTATIONS and a VH1 Rock Doc on the venerable SOUL TRAIN series taking top honors this night, leading it to a vrtual tie with last year's delivery. Older female demos grew significantly compared to last month and last year, contributing to the aging of the Network noted above. The Median Age on Saturday increased by 41% over last year and 47% over January.

Premiere series TOOL ACADEMY 3 was the high point each Sunday, sandwiched between two runs of  the middling FRANK THE ENTERTAINER.  Despite the lead-in, TOOL was the #2 series for the month for VH1, as well as #1 for younger men.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

VH1 has been extremely successful in the creation of an entirely new genre of programming.  Coining the phrase Celebreality, Vh1 has created several hit shows revolving around celebrities, past and present, and their "real" lives.

So now, the task at hand is to determine how they can expand beyond what's expected - and reach out to an even broader audience.  It's great to have programs that are celebrity-based, but anything that has amazing characters, tells a good story, and does it in a compelling way, is going to interest the net. Recently, VH1 has expanded into the original M.O.W. realm, with their first original feature being produced by Queen Latifah's production company, Favor Unit.

Important:

VH1's Celebreality hits have received a lot of attention and ratings success. The network, however, continues to expand upon their brand to bring unique documentaries and interesting pop culture and music-related series to air.

VH1 has said that they are actively looking for documentaries in their ROCK DOC block.  They are looking for "intimate stories," "iconic characters" (namely 60s and 70s icons), and intelligent documentaries that aren't afraid to take chances.  Think "big stories" told through a "small narrative," too.

In addition, they're looking to expand beyond just Celebreality.  TOOL ACADEMY and THE PICK-UP ARTIST were a fairly big successes for the network and they're looking for the next version of those series.

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