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Vh1 Analysis - July 2010 - Broadcasting & Cable

Vh1 Analysis - July 2010

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JULY 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 a successful original series. Episodes of new series tend to receive multiple Prime plays during the week each episode premieres. This fluid approach to scheduling, however can take its toll on viewer loyalty, as the lack of a discernible schedule on many nights seems to have harmed viewership in 2010.

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.

JULY 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

P18-49

Monday 8-11pm

-38%

-36%

Tuesday 8-11pm

 -29%

-32%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-18%

-22%

Thursday 8-11pm

-43%

-33%

Friday 8-11pm

-10%

-11%

Saturday 8-11pm

-12%

-26%

Sunday 8-11pm

-30%

-12%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-29%

-24%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

VH1's stretch of year-to-year losses continued for an eighth straight month as June 2010's HH Rtg was barely 2/3 of that from last July and RP18-49 was also down significantly. July was essentially flat with June, thanks to major month-to-month growth on Sundays, which countered month-to-month losses on  five other nights.

Every night experienced double-digit HH or demo losses from the same month last year, with Monday, Tuesday and Thursday down in the 1/3 range from July 2009's demo delivery. In addition to this 8-month streak of year-to-year losses, July's numbers give evidence of the continued ageing of VH1 as the Prime Median Age jumped 16% compared to last year, coming on the heels of two straight months of an 11% increase in Median Age.

Series shuffled in and out throughout the month, with none having four regularly scheduled telecasts in the same time slot in July. In addition, only 2.5 of VH1's 21 Prime hour-long slots remained  consistent with June's schedule, possibly leading to further viewer confusion. ("Consistent" in this case meaning a series is afforded at least two runs in the same slot per month.) Nearly half of July's time-slots had no discernible regular schedule.

On Monday, YOU'RE CUT OFF replaced BEHIND THE MUSIC from 8-10pm, with the music series moving to 10pm, repalcing DAD CAMP. This led to significant double-digit losses in HH and all demos from last year and last month.

Tuesday's only semblance of consistet scheduling was  OCHOCINCO: THE ULTIMATE CATCH replacing BASKETBALL WIVES at 10pm for two weeks. The night as a whole was down by 1/3 from last year but grew sharply in male demos from last month.

Wednesday's combination of YOU'RE CUT OFF, DAD CAMP  and BRIDAL BOOTCAMP was thematically consistent (spoiled indivduals being shown how to "improve") but dropped sharply from last month in HH and demos. None of the series stood out in this night.

The premiere of THE OCD PROJECT continued to be the top offering on Thursday, helping earn sharp month-to-month increases for male demos.

Friday suffered modest double-digit HH and demo losses from last year, but was essentially flat with June. A block of 100 GREATEST SONGS OF THE 90'S episodes was the top offering on this night, for the second month in a row.

Saturday's top movie titles were REMEMBER THE TITANS and THE TEMPTATIONS as the night was down somewhat from last year and last month, with the exception of modest HH growth over June.

Sunday was a rare bright spot in July, when compared to last month. The NFL-driven series OCHOCINCO: THE ULTIMATE CATCH and THE T.O. SHOW helped the night more than double June's deliver of male demos, pushing up HH delivery buy nearly half. Sunday, however, contributed the most to the rapid aging of VH1's viewership, with an average 23% above July 2009's median Age for Sunday. 

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 fairly big successes for the network and they're looking for the next version of those series.

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