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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. Original series run every night of the week, with themes on a nightly basis.  In January, Africa, Alaska, outlaws, survival shows anchored the schedule. Mondays in January saw the debut of two new original series, EXTREME SMUGGLING and SHIPWRECK MEN, which replaced an automotive-themed lineup which left with the cancelation of AMERICAN CHOPPER. Tuesdays were all about survival, with DUAL SURVIVAL, and newcomer AFRICA. Wednesdays in January featured MOONSHINERS and AMISH MAFIA. Thursday saw more MOONSHINERS, paired with PROPERTY WARS. Friday and Saturdays were more Alaska and adventure programming. Sundays in January were anchored by MOONSHINERS, paired with a variety of rotating programs.


Live + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / January 2013 vs. January 2012 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

January 2013 was a solid beginning to a new year for Discovery, which has seen more competition from other networks in a huge way over the past several years. As more competitors enter Discovery's traditionally male-skewing adventure space, there's more competition for programs and for viewers than ever before. As noted above, the cancelation of long-running Discovery staples DIRTIEST JOBS and AMERICAN CHOPPER has cleared the space for new series, and hopefully new, long-running brands for the network.

January saw the debut of 3 new original series, and an almost entirely new Monday and Tuesday night primetime lineup. Both EXTREME SMUGGLING and SHIPWRECK MEN debuted on Monday, 1/14. As has been the case previously with new Discovery shows (i.e. MOONSHINERS), neither performed above-average in its debut, and both struggled in subsequent airings. Mondays were down 10% in overall viewers compared to January 2012, and also took a sharp hit from December's ratings in both overall viewers and among the male demographics as well. Hopefully time will draw the audience back to Monday nights, as viewers re-adjust to a Monday night lineup that isn't automotive-driven.

AFRICA debuted on Tuesday, 1/8, as the lead-out from DUAL SURVIVAL in the 8pm and 9pm slots. Tuesdays were up nicely from year ago numbers (though were also down from December 2012's numbers.) AFRICA does a solid job of holding the lead-in numbers from DUAL SURVIVAL, and both series were among the top performers of the month for Discovery.

Wednesday nights are among the strongest of the week for Discovery, due to strong performances by AMISH MAFIA and MOONSHINERS, which, in some airings, more than double average among overall viewers, and among the key male demographics.

Only Friday's Alaska-themed lineup outperformed Wednesday nights. GOLD RUSH and BERING SEA GOLD are literally ratings gold for the network among overall viewers and male demographics. Both series are up in male demos compared to January 2012 and the night was, by far, the strongest of the week for Discovery.

PROPERTY WARS, Discovery's foray into the real estate business, struggled in the Thursday night lineup in January. Numbers struggled to reach average, though there was some growth throughout the month.

With a solid lineup of new series, Discovery is poised to regain some traction in the new year with a diverse and compelling programming slate. Figuring out what genres stick and which won't will be the biggest challenge in the new year. We expect many risks from the network in 2013.