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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 December, cars, Alaska, outlaws, and the Amish - anchored the schedule and run throughout the week. Mondays in December were all about cars, with AMERICAN CHOPPER and newcomer JESSE JAMES OUTLAW GARAGE and FAST N LOUD. Tuesdays were all about the north, with ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER and BUYING ALASKA anchoring the lineup. Wednesdays in December featured MOONSHINERS and introduced AMISH MAFIA. Thursday saw more MOONSHINERS, paired withGHOST TOWN GOLD. Friday was more Alaska and saw the debut of new series JUNGLE GOLD, while Saturdays featured a mix of programming. Sundays were anchored by CURIOSITY, paired with re-airs of AMISH MAFIA, and a variety or programs that rotated in the 10pm slot.


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

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

A solid December closed out a strong, and interesting 2012 for Discovery.  With A&E and History, and now Nat Geo, starting to pull more and more of Discovery's audience, 2012 was a year filled with ups, downs, and changes.  The cancelation of DIRTIEST JOBS and AMERICAN CHOPPER make it clear that Discovery is ready to usher in new programs - and new genres - in 2013.

December 2012 was a solid month for Discovery. Overall HH ratings were up 2% compared to December 2011, though there were some losses in the People 18-49 and 25-54 demos.  Still, 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 December saw modest year-to-year growth in overall viewers. While AMERICAN CHOPPER in the 9pm slot scored the biggest numbers, not much else during the night managed to hit average.

Tuesdays saw a solid bump up in overall numbers, up 8% compared to December 2011. ALAKSA: THE LAST FRONTIER, scored above average for the night, but the big winner was the Tuesday finale of AMERICAN CHOPPER on 12/11, bringing in ratings nearly double average, and driving up male viewership for the night.

Wednesdays in December featured marathons of MOONSHINERS and newcomer AMISH MAFIA. The night was up 18% in overall viewers compared to December 2011 and both AMISH MAFIA and MOONSHINERS delivered numbers that were more than double average, and drove the night to be one of the strongest of the week for Discovery in December 2012.

Thursday nights in December saw a 10% increase in overall viewers, as more AMISH MAFIA scored above average.  A marathon of PROPERTY WARS on 12/27 didn't manage to hit averages.

Fridays have notoriously been a high-profile night for Discovery, and this December was no exception.  Still, despite being the strongest night of the week, and delivering numbers well above average, the night did see some year-to-year losses in overall viewers and among the younger demographics.  A lineup of GOLD RUSH and JUNGLE GOLD scored well with viewers.  JUNGLE GOLD grew its audience in early December, before being swapped with BERING SEA GOLD in the 10pm slot.

Saturday's lineup in December featured a variety of programs stacked in mini-marathons, none of which hit averages, and made Saturday night the weakest of the week in the month of December.

Sunday's lineup was down 21% from year. A mix of programming, only AMISH MAFIA scored above average numbers.

In 2013, look for more blue-chip programs in the science and nature realm, along with high-concept formatted shows in the survival space.  More male-skewing character driven docs as well.  2013 will also see the debut of Discovery's first scripted mini-series, something that we can bet will be repeated should the viewers tune in.