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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 /April 2012 vs. April 2011  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

NGC stayed on the winning track in April, with demos up over 60% compared to last year, driven by  recently introduced series NAVAJO COPS, DOOMSDAY PREPPERS and  WILD TUNA. Specials dealing with stories above and beneath the sea also scored well in April, with every night earning double-digit demo increases over last year's more anthology-driven schedule.   Overall Median Age dropped 6% from April 2011, following a 4% decline in March. Ratings were up 10-20% compared with last month.

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 is  being rewarded with increasing annual  demo growth, now on every night of the week in April.  With Science largely absent from the line-up in April 2012, the broader appeal programming strategy paid off even more richly than last month.

Mondays lead off with Specials at 8pm, with TITANIC: THE FINAL WORD  the top offering in April. New series NAVAJO COPS is expanded to two hours, with the 10pm  episode growing from its 9pm lead-in. Overall, NAVAJO COPS is the third highest rated series in April.   RM18-49 demos was double that of last month, driven by a pair of Titanic specials, as well as runs of WILD JUSTICE at the end of the survey.

For the third month in a row, Tuesday was driven by  new series DOOMSDAY PREPPERS, leading to unprecedented increases  compared to last year's  Specials-driven ratings in the same slot. Two episodes of the mini-series AMISH: OUT OF ORDER  also helped lead Tuesday to the strongest annual growth of any night in April. Overall delivery for the night was essentially flat with last month.

Growth Monday and Tuesday was equally driven by Men and Women.

Wednesday earned sharp annual A18-49 growth for the third month in a row, as viewership for recently introduced 10pm series AMERICAN WEED grew out of 9pm lead-in DRUGGED. A block of LOCKED UP ABROAD the final week of the survey earned top honors for the night, however. The night dropped 21% in Median Age from 2011's INSIDE anthology lineup. Delivery was down slightly compared to last month's similarly scheduled offering.

Thursday's specials continued to show significant improvement over last year's Sci-Tech themed block, despite the weakness of new 8pm offering DECRYPTERS.  SEX IN THE STONE AGE  and WHEN ALIENS ATTACK were the top specials on Thursday. HH and demo delivery was down in the  20%  range from last month.

A run of  TITANIC: THE FINAL WORD  and a block of LOCKED UP ABROAD drove Friday's demo delivery to growth of 1/3 over last year's  animal-driven lineup. Younger Male demos nearly doubled those of last month.

Saturday was led by new series WICKED TUNA, which grew consistently from its SHARK MEN lead-in. Demos nearly doubled across the board from last year, and delivery was flat with last month.

Sunday's 8-10pm specials led into  10pm premieres of WICKED TUNA, which consistently grew above their lead-in. Another run of TITANIC: THE FINAL WORD was the top offering this night, which was up in the 50% range for A18-49 from last month.10pm WICKED TUNA did weaken as the survey wore on, dropping half of its Week1 ratings by Week 5.