How are they doing this year?
John Morse, president of the research firm Byron Media continues his quarterly snapshot of how U.S. Unscripted channels are gaining or losing prime time viewers year-to-year.
Our selection is not apples-to-apples:
- It includes channels that are dedicated to Docs and Unscripted, for example Nat Geo and Discovery
- And others like A&E and MTV that mix of Docs and Reality with Scripted
- Many channels that schedule Factual are unrated, or were not rated last year
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Quantity Not Quality
- Most ad-supported channels sell media based on their target demos
- Nonetheless the quarterly ‘average prime time’ is a very useful measure of scale and performance
U.S. Factual Channels
Average Prime Time Audience, 1Q11 versus 1Q10
|ID: INVEST. DISCOVERY|
|NAT GEO CH|
Nielsen Media Research
Largest audience (‘000)
- History (1,405), A&E (1,220), MTV (1,127), HGTV (931) and Discovery (943)
- TLC (879) and SyFy (933) dropped out of the Top 5 in 1Q11
- Top 5: ID: Investigation Discovery (61%), MTV (55%), History (36%), Bravo (28%) and BET (22%)
- (Fast-growing Discovery Science – now rebranded as ‘ Science’ – accidentally dropped off our data set)
- VH1 remains in the basement (-20%)
- But the VH1 team developed 2010′s #1 Reality hit Jersey Shore, which airs on sister channel MTV
MTV Adds 400K
- Jersey Shore, 16 & Pregnant and other hits blast MTV out of the doghouse of exhausted global brands
- 369,000 new viewers is huge for a fully-distributed channel
- That’s on top of 326,000 new viewers in 4Q’10 versus 4Q09
- History’s growth is led by the hit series Pawn Stars, its spin off American Restoration, and American Pickers
The Factual Bucket: 14.1 million and Growing!
- DocumentaryTelevision.com’s bucket of Basic channels attracted on average 14.1 million viewers in prime time in 1Q’11
- The year-to-year increase for the Factual genre was 10%!
- The broad Unscripted category continues to register huge growth at the expense of Scripted, News and other categories
- More viewers doesn’t mean job security
- Nat Geo registers a turnaround (+4%). But NGC’s respected programming captain leaves the ship
- DCI’s flagship channel returns to the Top 5 – and was reshuffled
- The elevator is the only choice for MTV’s chief executive when a new org chart floats across her desk. “And hey, thanks for those 400,000 new, young viewers!”
- Digital channel: Analog performance
- Animal Planet sees ID in the mirror
- How high can this Female-targeted Crime channel climb?
Don’t Forget: The Oprah Winfrey Network
- OWN replaced Discovery Health on 1/1/11, and isn’t listed in our year-to-year comparisons
- But OWN feels looks a lot like underwater real estate as it earns only 225,000 average prime time viewers in 1Q11
- CEO Christina Norman is sent packing: Discovery sends in Dr Fixit, and Oprah calls it a ‘natural transition’
- Next post: We polled several execs and experts on their Takeaways from OWN’s poor start
Previous Snapshots from John Morse and Byron Media
And don’t miss!
- 8 Ways to Create an Unscripted Cable Hit: Lessons from 2010 from AETN’s head of Research, Don Robert at the Real Screen 2011 Conference
Sunnyside of the Doc
La Rochelle, France
3D Where is the Money ?
For a year now, 3D has been on the rise. Initiatives are announced by the week.
Is this new format the next El Dorado, despite the heavy technical constraints ?
Between public subsidies, industrial partnerships, TV copros and theatrical releases: What is the path to successfully finance a 3D project?
What is the cost premium for 3D versus HD?
Ghislaine Le Rhun-Gautier, head of 3D project, Orange (France)
John Cassy, Director, Sky 3D (UK)
Baptiste Heynemans CNC (NTP) (France)
Laurent Dondey, DP La Géode (France)
Modérateur: Peter Hamilton, DocumentaryTélévision.com