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Science Channel Analysis - July 2011


* Bold denotes programming change


Several years after launch, the schedule grid still provides very little consistency week to week.  Themed nights are the order of the day, filled with short series, long series, and single hours in between.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison /July 2011 vs. July 2010 (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Steady as she goes this month for Science.  Very small changes in younger women and older men, but the overall demos are flat to last year.  Monthly numbers were also on par with June, with a slight rise in Men 25-54 for the second month in a row.  Median age was down a notch from June.

Wednesday was the strongest night in target adults, followed closely by Monday and Sunday.  The 10pm bump we saw in June was more limited this month, primarily coming with specific series later in the week.

THROUGH THE WORMHOLE  stood above the pack again in July.  The Morgan Freeman hosted series was more than solid with premieres on Wednesdays at 10pm.  A couple of episodes later in the month even doubled the monthly averages for target adults.  Repeats weren't as strong, but were still above the averages more often than night.  Only caution comes with overuse.  A Sunday stack on the final day of July struggled a bit.

UNLOCKING THE UNIVERSE was featured on the last Monday of the month as a stacked event.  Very steady across all three hours and above average for the month.

WONDERS OF THE UNIVERSE, the major BBC produced mini-series, launched on Wednesday at9pm.  Unfortunately, it didn't fare as well as UNLOCKING earlier in the week.

LIFE ON THE LINE was back on Tuesday nights, and the results were no better than we saw in June.  Well below average in the target demos.

BIG, BIGGER, BIGGEST featured a full slate of premieres on Tuesdays at 9pm.  The engineering series landed slightly below average on the schedule.

FIREFLY  was the marathon of choice this Independence Day.  Prime time results were fantastic, garnering 60-70% more target adults than July's schedule average.


The Science Channel's addition to the Cable U Top 30 is a long time coming.  The opportunity for growth is massive.  The network name allows the brand to be as broad or narrow as one likes.  The ratings are still lower than most networks, but are measurable enough to determine success and failure on individual programs.   The channel has been commissioning original programming in increasing amounts the last few years.  It's a must see for any producer looking to break into the Discovery Communications portfolio of networks.

Organizational changes at Discovery Communications once again shuffled the deck and placed Science Channel under new management.  The network has shifted from an internal pairing with Discovery Channel to Animal Planet.  The impact on the content and the schedule have yet to be seen.  Without the direct tie to the flagship, might we see fewer off Discovery series and more originals?  Will Animal Planet's blue chip natural history find it's way over to Science?  Stayed tuned.