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Discovery Analysis


With the big announcement that Discovery's long-running series DIRTIEST JOBS and AMERICAN CHOPPER are coming to an end, it's clear Discovery is on a mission to usher in a new year with new original series. In November, cars, Alaska, survival - you know, manly programs - anchor the schedule and run throughout the week. Mondays in November were all about cars, with AMERICAN CHOPPER and newcomer JESSE JAMES OUTLAW GARAGE. Tuesdays were all about the north, with ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER and YUKON MEN anchoring the lineup. Wednesdays in November was nearly all MOONSHINERS marathons. Thursday saw TEXAS CAR WARS and GHOST TOWN GOLD. Friday was more Alaska and saw the debut of new series JUNGLE GOLD, while Saturdays featured a mix of programming. Sundays was a lineup of originals - MYTHBUSTERS, CURIOSITY, and BREAKING MAGIC.


Live + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / November 2012 vs. November 2011 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

November was a solid month for Discovery. Overall HH ratings were up 12% compared to November 2011 as were People 18-49 and 25-54.  Nearly every night of the week saw year-to-year increases as well. The debut of solid new original series and specials during November scored well for Discovery, and the network is still seeing success with many of its long-running franchises and specials.

Monday nights in November saw the most significant year-to-year losses in overall viewers. While AMERICAN CHOPPER in the 9pm slot scored the biggest numbers, lead out JESSE JAMES OUTLAW GARAGE started off slowly, but gained momentum throughout the month.

Tuesdays saw a solid bump up in overall numbers, up 46% compared to November 2011.  High-stakes male-driven shows like ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER, FIGHTING TUNA, and ALASKA MARSHALS delivered above-average numbers and scored well in male demographics.

Wednesdays in November featured only marathons of MOONSHINERS. The night was up 36% in overall viewers compared to November 2011, but perhaps even more interesting was its 75% increase in overall viewers compared to October 2012's gun/military centric lineup. Across November, MOONSHINERS delivered over-average in nearly each of its airings, and the night was one of the strongest of the week for Discovery.

Thursday night's 35% increase in overall viewers can most likely be attributed to more strong performances by MOONSHINERS. GHOST TOWN GOLD, which hit the air on 11/15, scored below average in its debut and feel the following week.

Fridays have notoriously been a high-profile night for Discovery, and this November was no exception.  A lineup of GOLD RUSH and JUNGLE GOLD propelled the night up 16% compared to November 2011 in overall viewers, and the night was up across the board in both male and female demos. While GOLD RUSH scored close to triple average, JUNGLE GOLD didn't hold the entire audience, though it did exceed average throughout the month.

Saturday's lineup in November featured mostly airings of JUNGLE GOLD, GOLD RUSH, and MOONSHINERS.  ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER, teamed with other Discovery series and specials.  Nothing during the night managed to hit average.

Sunday's lineup was down 16% from year. A mix of programming, MYTHBUSTERS came closest to hitting average.  BREAKING MAGIC, which debuted on 11/11, was perhaps to niche to pull in a big audience, and numbers fell in its second week.

In recent months, it's clear there is a tremendous amount of competition in the cable landscape for viewers, and several networks that are actively working in Discovery's space.  Big programming choices, tentpole series, and stunts are going to be Discovery's biggest weapons in the ongoing fight for viewers in the remainder of 2012.