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History Channel Analysis - November 2011


Programming blocks and consistent scheduling seem to be History’s mantra.  Not too wide a programming mix, the primetime schedule is home to the solid favorites, giving viewers several opportunities to find their programs and develop a pattern of appointment viewing.  Thematic evenings take over on the weekend.  Network tends to run two hour event docs on Saturday.  Sundays have become the home for the umbrella theme "American Originals", including ICE ROAD TRUCKERS and AMERICAN PICKERS.  Specials can be inserted on Sunday evenings without breaking the flow of the regular schedule.


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

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

November was a tough month for History Channel, a network that has been enjoying tremendous success for most of the year.  Perhaps it was the return of football drawing men away, or that people are finally starting to tire of PAWN STARS.  Or both.

Lots of the big staples saw losses compared to a year ago.  PAWN STARS was down only 7% (due mostly to lack of premieres this month), but a few others saw bigger losses – AMERICAN RESTORATION was down 32% and SWAMP PEOPLE dropped 19% from last year.

Relative newcomer HAIRY BIKERS had a little bit of a…. hairy… start last month (sorry, couldn’t resist) and continued to struggle into November.  Numbers for the show (Friday nights) were down 14% from last month.

Success story of the month was TIME MACHINE (History’s catch-all title for specials.)  Best telecast?  Not the highly-hyped Vietnam in HD, but it was the SWAMPSGIVING special that took the top telecast spot.

And we can’t give PAWN STARS too hard a time… Monday night’s lineup of stacked eps of PAWN STARS continues to bring in numbers that are well above average (and on part with 4Q 2010 demos), and catapulted the night to #1 – by a lot.  According to network press, PAWN STARS is averaging 2.4 million viewers (Adults 25-54) , 2.3 million viewers (adults 18-49), and 4.7 million total viewers.  Fridays and Saturdays were both up compared to last year.  AMERICAN RESTORATION pulled in some more women, too, but we aren’t sure this is necessarily a good thing for this very male-skewing network.

As evidenced with SWAMPSGIVING, History Channel is having lots of success with characters from the south and mid-west.  Bring them talent/characters that skew male, and leave the History at the door – if they like the show, they will find the historical connection.