JULY 2011 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:
* Bold denotes programming change
VH1 continues to concentrate on home-grown series, often built around Reality "stars" from earlier series (e.g. DAISY OF LOVE featuring a former ROCK 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 over the last two years.
Music-oriented fare continues to make its presence felt on VH1, with survey-oriented specials (100 GREATEST...) joining occasional new episodes of the venerable BEHIND THE MUSIC series, along with concert specials and documentaries. Urban-appeal theatrical films, many with strong musical components, are also delivering above-average ratings to the Network
JULY 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / June 2011 vs. June 2010 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
VH1 finally saw a sharp turnaround from a string of year-to-year losses in June as new series SINGLE LADIES and BASKETBALL WIVES 3 helped pull the average Prime rating into positive territory. The turnaround from May, down 20% in HH ratings, to June, up 18%, was impressive. As a result, overall HH and demo delivery was up in the 40% range from May. The only potential negative was the aging of the network - Median Age was up 10% over May and 11% over June 2010.
Monday's premiere episodes of BASKETBALL WIVES 3 and SINGLE LADIES replaced LOVE & HIP HOP and BEVERLY HILLS FABULOUS, earning the strongest annual and monthly increases of any day in June. Each new episode of BASKETBALL WIVES 3 debuted in the 8pm hour and then repeated in the 10pm hour, earning similar ratings, and finishing as the #1 series this month, just ahead of SINGLE LADIES. The three episodes of SINGLE LADIES which premiered on Monday in June nearly tripled VH1's average HH and demo ratings for June. Another indicator of the series' strength for VH1 is a mere 11% drop in RP18-49 from week 1 to week 3. HH and demo delivery for the night was more than double the previous month's.
Tuesday night as a whole was up significantly for HH and P18-49 ratings from last month, while flat with last year. On the final Tuesday of the survey a repeat of SINGLE LADIES at 8pm led into a block of MOB WIVES from 9-11pm, the lead-in affording that series its strongest Tuesday performance of the survey.
Movies and series repeats combined to give Wednesday an overall delivery that was down slightly from last year and up modestly from last month. The Movie JOHNSON FAMILY VACATION was the top draw for this night.
Despite stunting specials among the block of hour-long episodes of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE that had settled in on Thursday in November 2010, the night suffered the second-steepest drop of the month. Only the survey special 40 GREATEST PRANKS 2 came close to equaling VH1's much improved Prime average.
Friday was down sharply from last year and modestly from last month for HH and P18-49. The mixed-bag schedule featured Movies, specials and series repeats, with no particular offerings standing out on this night.
Saturday's only annual and monthly growth was among older women, drawn by the movies BRING IT ON AGAIN and BRING IT ON: ALL OR NOTHING one week, and a block of SINGLE LADIES repeats the next.
Sunday benefited from new episodes of MOB WIVES, as well as the premiere of the first episode of CELEBRITY REHAB 5. Overall, the number 2 rated night, behind Monday, the night remained hampered by 8pm MOB WIVES' lead-out series; 9pm AUDRINA and 930pm SADDLE RANCH drop considerably from the lead-in. Delivery was down slightly from May.
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
VH1 had 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. Flavor Unit is also producing VH1's first scripted drama, based on the same characters as the M.O.W.
VH1's Celebreality hits have received a lot of attention and ratings success in the past. 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.