Vh1 Analysis - November 2010

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NOVEMBER 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

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 in 2010.

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.

NOVEMBER 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

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

HH

P18-49

Monday 8-11pm

-64%

-68%

Tuesday 8-11pm

 -44%

-40%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-26%

-30%

Thursday 8-11pm

-13%

0%

Friday 8-11pm

-32%

-37%

Saturday 8-11pm

-26%

-5%

Sunday 8-11pm

-54%

-61%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-43%

-45%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

VH1's stretch of year-to-year losses continued for a twelfth straight month, as November 2010's HH and A18-49 Ratings were barely more than half of those from the same month last year. November's delivery was also down slightly from last month, underlining the seriousness of the network's year-long decline.

While five nights experienced double-digit demo losses from the same month last year, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday showed some growth over October, signaling a potential turnaround in the Network's fortunes.
In addition to this stretch of year-to-year losses, November's numbers give evidence of the continued ageing of VH1 as the Prime Median Age jumped 18% compared to last year, continuing a six-month streak of double-digit increases in Median Age since June 2010.

A comparison of the average ratings for the top five series from October 2009 to this month's average shows a nearly 60% drop in HH rating from last year.

November saw a return to a relatively stable schedule, with five consistently scheduled time periods. This is a notable shift from the freewheeling scheduling practices of recent months where the same series was rarely scheduled in the same time period for an entire survey.

Monday saw the premiere of MARIO LOPEZ: SAVED BY THE BABY joining BRET MICHAELS: LIFE AS I KNOW IT at 10 and 1030pm. The two series delivered nearly identical ratings and grew consistently over their MY BIG FRIGGIN' WEDDING lead-in.

Tuesday night as a whole was down by over 1/3 from last year for HH and demos, but grew somewhat over last month in Men demos, drawn by a run of the film ATL.

Wednesday's highlight was the 10pm run of I LOVE MONEY 4, which earned 150% of the monthly average rating for W18-49.

A block of hour-long episodes of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE  settled in on Thursday, giving the night the best performance versus last year, and significant growth over last month, especially in Men demos.

Friday lost virtually 1/3 of November 2009's HH and demo ratings, and was down modestly from last month, except  male demos, which were flat with October.

Blocks of the off-HBO series ENTOURAGE filled the first three Saturday's of the survey, after finishing an abreviated run on sister network Spike. Two SNL anthology episodes on the final Saturday in November tripled ENTOURAGE's HH and demo averages.

Fresh episodes of FOOTBALL WIVES, and FANTASIA FOR REAL 2 rotated in a variety of patterns on Sunday nights, leading to a steep drop from last year's numbers, as well as from October.

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. Flavor Unit is also producing VH1's first scripted drama, based on the same characters as the M.O.W.

Important:

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.

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