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H2 is a network on the rise. This February the network saw a larger percentage of year-over-year ratings growth than any other CableU Top Network. After proving its viability as a sister network to History, it has started to develop its own identity and find its own viewers. The network is no longer just a catchall for former History programs; twelve original programs are scheduled to roll out in 2013.


H2, or History Two, was created in September 2011 as a rebrand of AETN’s History International. With sister network History finding success in the not-so-historical reality world of programs like PAWN STARS and SWAMP PEOPLE, H2 was to be a home to the documentary-style fare that launched The History Channel. H2 retains the male skew of History, although viewers are slightly older and ratings are one-fifth the size. The network is positioned as one of the few places upscale men can enjoy non-reality, non-sports , non-news programming. The channel already airs in Canada and is expected to launch outside of North America this year.


In addition to older series (MODERN MARVELS), appropriate History programs and specials are rebroadcast on H2 (MANKIND THE STORY OF ALL OF US this month). As H2 finds continuing success, it will roll out a dozen original programs in 2013. The first, AMERICA UNEARTHED, was strong out of the gate, and ranks second this month (behind ANCIENT ALIENS, a History hand-me-down.) It has already been renewed for a second season. The network is looking for programming defined as "information as entertainment," versus History, which is more "entertainment as information."


H2 effectively rotates just a handful of hour-long programs throughout the month. There are no strips, but there are often themes to the night, and some programs are regularly stacked: MODERN MARVELS on Mondays; MANKIND DECODED on Saturdays; and special presentations or ANCIENT ALIENS stacks on Sundays. Tuesday through Thursday nights get an ever-changing mix of ANCIENT ALIENS, AMERICA UNEARTHED, THE UNIVERSE, HOW THE EARTH WAS MADE and special presentations. Despite the short list of programs, episodes are rarely repeated within the month. Best performing shows run on Friday nights, where ratings double the rest of the week.


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

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

H2 showed strong improvements over last year with dramatic ratings increases. Household ratings grew 32% vs. February 2012, men 18-49 increased by 27% and men 25-54 increased by 20%. Women represent just one-third of the primetime audience. Compared to last month, ratings are slightly off, down 4% among households and 7% to 10% among men. Median audience age nudged up vs. both last year and last month, sitting slightly above the 25-54 age group.

2013 promises to be a big year for H2, as original programs hit the line-up. AMERICA UNEARTHED debuted in December 2012 and is being called the network’s number one program to date. H2 has greenlit a second season with forensic geologist Scott Wolter returning to host the show that digs into America’s archaeological secrets. It runs on Friday nights, pulling top ratings along with new episodes of ANCIENT ALIENS, a pick-up from History.

Monday’s MODERN MARVELS is also a pick-up from History. In its twelfth season it is healthy vs. both last year and last month, but could not keep Monday nights above the bottom-line primetime average.

On Tuesdays through Thursdays different programming stacks are presented nearly every week. Some nights are themed (the galaxy, paranormal, archaeology), but most are not. As expected, ratings results were mixed as well.

Saturdays this month started off with MANKIND: THE STORY OF ALL OF US encores from the well-promoted, so-so rated History mini-series. It was a good fit with lead-out program, MANKIND DECODED, but it did not do much for the night’s ratings.

Sunday nights saw double-digit demo improvements, but it was the lowest rated night of the week. The night featured “SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS” on three weeks, with topics ranging from Bigfoot to apartheid. The best performing week was the one that hosted an ANCIENT ALIENS stack. In its fifth season, ANCIENT ALIENS was the most frequently scheduled and the top rated program on both household and demo.