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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 others.

The Wednesday "Science Night" is no more, as series blocks alternate with specials to fill most nights. This strategy has been rewarded with consistent strong growth since January.

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 + SD Primetime Ratings Comparison / October 2012 vs. October 2011  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

After somewhat of a tougher start to fall for Nat Geo, some lost ground was regained by the network in October.  Overall HH audiences were up 11% compared to October 2011 and the key younger demos were up as well.  In addition, most nights of the week saw positive year-to-year increases in overall viewers and among key younger demographics.  During October, series ALASKA STATE TROOPERS took the top spots in terms of viewers; new series TO CATCH A SMUGGLER and BID AND DESTROY failed to crack the top 10.

Monday nights in October saw 21% growth in overall household viewers compared to last year, and saw strong gains among key younger demographics.  The night fell just short of average, but gains were due to strong performances of ALASKA STATE TROOPERS.  Newcomer TO CATCH A SMUGGLER hovered around average throughout the month.

Tuesday nights also saw moderate growth in overall viewers compared to October 2011, up 14% compared to last year.  HARD TIME, in the 9pm slot, started the month strong, but fell to below average later in October.  Staple series TABOO gained momentum throughout the month.  The night is the youngest-skewing of the week for NGC.

Wednesday nights, which had struggled in September, had a nice turnaround in October, and saw an increase of 8% in overall HH viewers compared to October 2011.  However, there were year-to-year losses among key younger demographics.  Wednesday's lineup was comprised almost entirely of episodes of BID AND DESTROY, which, though it struggled to hit average, did gain some momentum throughout the month as viewers caught on to the new series.

Thursday night saw some moderate year-to-year losses in overall viewers compared to last year.  A mix of specials and series anchored the night; an airing of TABOO was among the strongest performers for the night.

Friday featured a lineup of series including FAMILY GUNS, BID AND DESTROY, and WICKED TUNA.  The night was down 19% compared to October 2011, as most of the telecasts failed to hit average, though AMERICAN MANSION: SECRETS OF THE ROCKEFELLER ESTATE was among the highest rated telecasts of the month.

Saturday's strong 71% year-to-year growth was driven by male demos tuning in for ALASKA STATE TROOPERS, which scored well above-average in the 9pm slot.  Lead-out DOOMSDAY PREPPERS BUGGED managed to maintain above average numbers, but couldn't hold the lead-in numbers of ALASKA.

Sundays earned the highest overall ratings of any night in October.  More ALASKA STATE TROOPERS brought in above-average numbers for the network, as did DRUGGED and DRUGS, INC.