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BET Analysis - October 2011


The BET Monday - Friday schedule typically features a movie each night at 8 or 9 with original programming / encores filling the remaining hour. Premiere night for new series is Tuesday. The practice of scattering encores throughout the week has been curbed in recent months, giving movies a dominant, if not prominent role. Sunday night is a mix of programming, including movies, original series, encores, news specials and encores of specials.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / October 2011 vs. October 2010  (% Change)

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

OCTOBER 2011: There were essentially just three programming elements in play on BET this month, yet they were strong enough to bring the bottom-line women 18-49 primetime ratings up by 14% vs. last year and 21% vs. last month, while drawing BET’s youngest primetime audience since July 2010. The three elements were the annual BET HIP HOP AWARDS special, the new original sitcom REED BETWEEN THE LINES and the long-standing and quiet programming foundation, acquired theatricals.

It was a month for minimalism on BET. Not only was there a limited roster of primetime programs in rotation, the number of nights with exceptional ratings was limited as well. With both the HIP HOP AWARDS and REED BETWEEN THE LINES premieres airing on Tuesday nights, Tuesdays rose above and beyond the rest of the week. In fact, the night was so far above the rest that it was the only night of the week to perform above the primetime average.

THE HIP HOP AWARDS, like most of BET’s annual specials this year, topped its 2010 performance. Ratings for the Tuesday night premiere broadcast were 11% better on households and 15% better on women 18-49. Encores also performed better this year.

THE BET HIP HOP AWARDS aired on a Tuesday night last October as well, and while this year the show was used to introduce REED BETWEEN THE LINES, last year it introduced BEING TERRY KENNEDY. On average, the October performance of REED pulled in core women 18-49 ratings that were 103% better than TERRY. And that is with twice the amount of encores counted in. REED handily topped the program that was in BET’s signature 10PM Tuesday slot last month, BORN TO DANCE: LAURIE ANN GIBSON. Of course the real comparison is not to last year’s or last month’s program, but to THE GAME and LET’S STAY TOGETHER, BET’s break-away originals that premiered last January. The success of those programs is the reason REED is with us on the line-up today. BET wanted to recreate ratings magic with an updated take on THE COSBY SHOW. So far, REED is pacing well behind THE GAME but holds a healthy margin over TOGETHER.

And on a final note on REED BETWEEN THE LINES, there was, of course, significant drop-off from the premiere week. Ratings fell 66% in the second week and another 11% in the third week. THE GAME suffered drop-off for its entire run.

And last, but certainly not least, is movies. Theatricals accounted for over three-fourths of BET’s primetime line-up this month. Overall they outperformed last month’s core women 18-49 ratings by 18% but fell 10% short of last year’s numbers. Top titles were Video Girl and Why Did I Get Married.