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BET Analysis - August 2010


* Bold denotes programming change


The BET Monday - Friday schedule typically features a movie each night at 8, with original programming or encores running at 10. Premiere night for new series is Tuesday, with plenty of encores scattered irregularly throughout the rest of the week. Saturdays are all movies and Sunday night is a mix of programming, including movies, original series, encores, news specials and encores of specials.


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

*Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

AUGUST 2010:  It was another slow summer month at BET, as women and adult audiences hit their lowest level of 2010. BET kept the line-up sparse, and with no breakout hits, audiences slipped away. Last month multiple encores of THE BET AWARDS SHOW kept audience levels inflated, but there was just one encore of the venerable ratings-grabber this month. Bottom line ratings vs. last month fell 20%. But August is typically a slow month on BET, and adult 18-49 ratings are actually 4% better than last year. It is important to note that it is men holding up the average, not BET's core women viewers.

There were only two new initiatives on BET this month. TREY SONGZ: MY MOMENT IN TIME was the latest in the string of music/reality programs. It debuted last month, but has still not found its audience. It has not been able to lead the network or Tuesday night (premiere night) forward. It dropped 25% of its average program audience from last month, and only two of the five premiere telecasts were able to pull in an audience above the Tuesday night or the Monday-Sunday average. BET responded to the low ratings by pulling back on the encores and replacing them with THE GAME and THE FAMILY CREWS. Both of those programs performed better than TREY SONGZ, but were not strong enough to pull up the ratings. Even with strong movie titles, Tuesday night underperformed last year by 37% on women 18-49. The difference was TINY & TOYA and FRANKIE & NEFFE in '09 vs. TREY in '10.

The other new program on the line-up was a one-off Katrina documentary, HEART OF THE CITY, which pulled decent numbers on Sunday, August 22, for a documentary. But, that bar isn't very high as documentaries don't do very well, and the numbers were below the Sunday night average.

Once again, it was movies that carried BET. And once again, it was a Tyler Perry movie that pulled the best numbers. Madeas Family Reunion delivered women 18-49 ratings that were 20% above the next highest rated telecast, The Brothers. The Wood was another solid movie performer.

As it approaches its 30th birthday, there is not a lot on BET's docket in the near future. Documentaries and co-sponsored programs (RISING ICONS sponsored by Grey Goose, CHANGING LANES sponsored by NASCAR) are up next. More specials and a lot of awards shows are also heading our way. Celebrity-reality documentaries come and go, adding punch to the schedule. BET has a good foundation in place, but will need a breakout hit to sustain the growth it enjoyed last year.


BET is focusing on what it does best, awards shows and celebrity reality with a musical twist. For now, BET is stringing together one short-lived celebrity reality show after another...FAMILY CREWS into TINY & TOYA into TREY SONGZ. When a program strikes a chord, it is literally played until it is played out. However, new formats and programs are still viable; the net is working on a scripted drama for next year. Documentaries and specials with a social message are also a strong programming option.