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National Geographic Channel Analysis


In a radical break with the past, NGC ushered in 2012 by eliminating regularly scheduled anthologies Time-honored titles such as NAT GEO PRESENTS and EXPLORER along with newer umbrellas such as NG INVESTIGATES or NGENUITY were replaced by new seasons of  series such as TABOO and DRUGS, INC. or new series such as DOOMSDAY PREPPERS.

The Wednesday "Science Night" is no more, as series blocks alternate with specials to fill most nights.

Repeats of the previous week's premiere episodes are likely to serve as the lead-in for the current week's premiere, providing the network with two-hour blocks of its top programming most nights.

Crime-oriented series and specials remain a key component of the schedule, although a number of different factual genres are being explored. Ancient mysteries, contemporary fringe cultures and big science specials help round out the line-up.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison /February 2012 vs. February 2011  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

While  NGC 's growing success in the crime and punishment genre took a major step forward in January, February's growth was also led by new reality series DOOMSDAY PREPPERS, which earned 9 of this month's Top 20 individual telecasts.

January ushered in a new scheduling strategy that largely eschews anthologies in favor of listing the actual title of the series episodes which, in earlier months, repeated under umbrella titles such as NAT GEO PRESENTS  or SUPER SATURDAY. This change was rewarded with significant annual HH and/or demo growth Tuesday through Friday.  With Science largely absent from the line-up in February 2012, the broader appeal programming strategy paid off, although not as richly as last month. HH and demo ratings were down slightly from January.

Mondays lead off with new series CIA CONFIDENTIAL, replacing January's debut ON BOARD,  followed by  ALASKA STATE TROOPERS  at 9pm. These generally held on to the 8pm lead-in. Delivery was essentially flat with last year's Specials-driven Monday, but Women demos were down 20% from January. A special on the recent Italian Cruise Ship disaster was he top Special this night.

Tuesday was driven by new series DOOMSDAY PREPPERS, leading to sharp increases across the board compared to last year's ratings for HARD TIME in the same slot. Reversing their usual scheduling pattern, NGC slotted premiere episodes at 9pm with repeats following at 10pm. Overall viewership was up by 25% over January's TABOO-heavy Tuesday, with Men demos up 35-45%.

Wednesday earned the highest annual A18-49 growth for February with new and library episodes of DRUG'S INC. 9-11pm. The night dropped 13% in Median Age from 2011's INSIDE anthology lineup. Delivery was down slightly across-the board compared to last month's similarly scheduled offering.

Growth slowed on Thursday, which in January took top honors for year-to-year growth. While none of the specials this night stood out, overall it was a significant ratings improvement compared to 2011's Sci-Tech themed block. Delivery was down in the  40%  range from last month.

Friday's Specials labored with an 8pm lead-in of ALASKA WING MEN, which under-delivered NGC's average prime rating by 25%. None of the National Security and Crime genre specials which followed grew substantially from  it's lead-in, and many declined. Delivery was essentially flat with January, except for a modest decline for older demos.

Saturday and Sunday were both hurt by the decline  of ALASKA STATE TROOPERS, which dominated the weekend in 2011 to greater effect, as it was used in the ubiquitous anthologies that dotted the lineup then. With a push from repeats of DOOMSDAY PREPPERS, Saturday's Men demos  grew by 2/3 over last month. February's top special, RUSSIA'S TOUGHEST PRISON, scored on the final Sunday of the survey.