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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 /May 2012 vs. May 2011  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

At the beginning of 2012, NGC ushered in a new scheduling strategy that largely eschews the traditional  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 consistent annual  demo growth, which continued on every night of the week save Monday in May.  With Science largely absent from the line-up for the second month in a row, the broader appeal programming strategy paid off especially on those nights that featured Science in 2011.

Mondays suffered the greatest annual and month-to-month declines, with 8pm Specials  LA STREET RACERS and STREET HEAT: HIGH SPEED JUSTICE providing a weak lead-in to the 9-11 pm WILD JUSTICE/ GOLDFATHERS block. With 5 additional Prime runs in May, new series GOLDFATHERS got off to a somewhat Rocky start, ranking second from the bottom in average HH Rating, ahead or OUTLAW BIKERS.

On Tuesday, new hit series AMISH: OUT OF ORDER ably replaced the recently concluded DOOMSDAY PREPPERS to keep the night firmly in the winning column, compared to last year's Specials-driven lineup. Drawing equal numbers of Men and Women viewers, AMISH is the #1 series among Women demos, nearly doubling the demo ratings of #2 Female-appeal series WILD JUSTICE.  Tuesday was NGC'S most viewed weeknight overall in May, but Male demos were down 1/3 from last month.

With bikers and international fugitives replacing  illicit drugs as the main subject matter, Wednesday earned modest growth among Men demos, while suffering similar annual declines among Women. 8pm series OUTLAW BIKERS never gained traction, dropping 22% in HH Rating by its third week in the time period.  The three new episodes of LOCKED UP ABROAD at 10pm grew 45% in the same period in HH Rating,all ranking among the Top 20 telecasts for the month. Younger demos declined significantly from last month as the night's Median Age grew 14% from April, although it was flat with 2011.

Thursday's specials continued to show significant improvement over last year's Sci-Tech themed block,with OMENS OF THE APOCALYPSE  and AREA 51 DECLASSIFIED taking top honors. Delivery was essentially flat with April.

New Friday 10pm offering GOLDFATHERS consistently grew out of its lead-in, a mixed bag of series episodes and specials, driven by Male viewers. Demos were up in the 50% range over May 2011's lineup, which was dominated by HOOKED  and ICE PILOTS, series no longer found on the NGC Prime schedule. The night benefited from timely TITANIC-related fare in April, leading to a decline in the 20-35% range from last month in May.

Saturday continued to be led by repeats of  new series WICKED TUNA, which grew consistently at 10pm  from its lead-in of last week's episode at 9pm. Despite 8pm SHARK MEN being down 50-70% in demos from May 2011, Men demos for the night as a whole were up by 40% from last year, although down in the 20% range from last month.

Sunday's 8-10pm specials and series episodes led into  10pm premieres of WICKED TUNA, which consistently grew above their lead-in. Female demos were down 20-30% from last year's Specials-driven lineup.