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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 / November 2012 vs. November 2011  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

November was a huge month for Nat Geo, with overall HH audiences growing 42% compared to last year, as well as even bigger increases in Adults 18-49 and 25-54. Increases each night of the week as well as new series scored big in November. The network has made it clear that they are going after broader, entertainment-based programming, and the beginnings of that strategy are already paying off.

Monday nights in November saw a 3% growth in overall household viewers compared to last year, paired with much stronger gains among key younger demographics. The night fell just short of average, but gains were due to strong performances of special INSIDE AFGHANISTAN WAR, which also was the #3 program in overall ratings for the month.

Tuesday nights in were up 81% in overall viewers compared to November 2011. Series DOOMSDAY PREPPERS continues to score well; in November, premieres were nearly double average.

Wednesday night's 55% year-to-year growth was fueled by solid numbers from BID & DESTROY, and strong performances by BORDER WARS.  HELL ON THE HIGHWAY premiered to numbers just below average and fell in its second week.

Thursday night saw some moderate year-to-year increases in overall viewers compared to last year.  A mix of specials and series anchored the night; SUPERSTORM 2012, the quick-turaround documentary about Hurricane Sandy, took in the highest numbers throughout the month.

Friday featured a lineup of series including FAMILY GUNS, WICKED TUNA, and a variety of specials. The night was up 4% compared to November 2011, but saw greater increased in younger demographics, most likely due to an airing of special SEAL TEAM SIX.

Saturday's strong 76% 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 November and saw huge increases in overall HH viewers and younger demographics compared to November 2011. Premieres of ALASKA STATE TROOPERS brought in above-average numbers for the network, as did DRUGS, INC, but the biggest performer of the night was a special, SPACE DIVE, about Felix  Felix Baumgartner's 24-mile jump from space.