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MTV Analysis


MTV's schedule is constantly changing. They usually have at least 3 nights of primetime first-run programs, while the other nights are either re-runs or other specials. They fill gaps in the schedule by showing feature films and a few acquired series relevant to their audience. The timeslots leading up to premieres are usually a marathon of episodes of weeks' past. They rely on a lot of repetition in the form of marathons, especially on the weekends. They also make good use of tent poling by scheduling longstanding reliable series like THE REAL WORLD at 10PM and new, untested content either right before or at 10:30 or 11PM.


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

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

In what is becoming something of a pattern of late, MTV was once again up in the monthly ratings but down from last year. The network continues to compete with the ghost of former powerhouse JERSEY SHORE.

Back in February 2012, SHORE began displaying early signs that the party was slowly dying down. Nevertheless, the show was still a massive ratings draw for MTV.

Presently, the network is down 20% among women and 10% among men in the 18 – 49 demo from last year.  MTV has not yet filled the enormous shoes left by SHORE despite programming similarly themed shows like BUCKWILD.

For now, TEEN MOM II continues to be MTV’s most watched program. In February, the series closed out its third season before promptly beginning its fourth a mere two weeks later. MOM’S season three finale was the program’s (as well as the network’s) most viewed telecast of the month.

As expected, the finale found its highest ratings among women 18 – 49. The strength of the program among this demo made Mondays the network’s most viewed night of the week.

Following the season three finale, the next two most popular telecasts were also MOM episodes. Despite high ratings, however, viewer interest for the fourth season premiere dropped off slightly from the final two episodes of the previous season.

Elsewhere on the schedule, BUCKWILD remained fairly level with the month before as far as premiere ratings in key demos were concerned. It closed off its season on a high note, earning its highest ratings to date for its finale (among households and men 18 – 49.) Among women 18 – 49, the season’s penultimate episode edged out the finale.

Despite a worthy performance by BUCKWILD on Thursdays, the night was down 36% among men 18 – 49 and 38% with women 25 – 54 from last year (which featured a strongly performing SHORE). The night’s monthly ratings were down 24% among women 18 – 49 but enjoyed a 7% rise with men 18 – 49.

This shift in Thursday night’s ratings can be attributed to comparative lack of BUCKWILD in February. In January, primetime Thursdays aired BUCKWILD almost exclusively for the duration of the month. But when the season ended on February 7th, MTV replaced the gap in the schedule with male skewing RIDICULOUSNESS and FAILOSOPHY.

SNOOKI & JWOWW, which aired new second season episodes on Tuesday nights, was down 5 % from last month among women 18 – 49. Despite this month to month decline, SNOOKI remained one of MTV’s most popular female skewing programs.

In terms of male-skewing programs, RIDICULOUSNESS enjoyed a 30% increase among 18 – 49 year olds thanks to the return of new episodes. The show, which aired on Thursdays, was up 21% from its last premiere.

FAILOSOPHY, which aired directly after RIDICULOUSNESS on Thursday nights, almost matched its lead-in on the night of its debut. Its two subsequent premiere episodes fell steeply however.

Finally, both WASHINGTON HEIGHTS (airing Wednesdays) and CATFISH (airing Mondays) stayed perfectly level with their January numbers. This was bad news for HEIGHTS, which has been struggling but fair news for CATFISH which enjoyed a fair first season.