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Travel Channel Analysis - November 2009



The schedule is built around a handful of key series at 9pm or 10pm, complemented by repeats of the same on the same night.  Monday features ANTHONY BOURDAIN, Tuesday is ANDREW ZIMMERN BIZARRE FOODS, Wednesday is MAN VS FOOD, and Friday is GHOST ADVENTURES.  The remaining nights feature an occasional series such as MADVENTURES or SAMANTHA BROWN, but the overwhelming majority of the timeslots are filled with single hour programs.  Thematic stacks and diverse topics, premieres and repeats, they're all mixed throughout the one up portion of the schedule.  It remains one of the few non-fiction based network schedules with a large number of one up programs in basic cable.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / November 2009 vs. November 2008  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Another month of success for the Travel Channel, which saw modest increased in HH demo, but big numbers in the key adult demos.  The network is younger than ever before.

As it's been for the last several months, MAN VS FOOD continues to be a staple for the network.  The show continues to be top performing series of the month (again.)

Right on its heals is GHOST ADVENTURES.  The show continues to score well above-average and their live program on October 30 was the top rated telecast of the month.

Previous staples NO RESERVATIONS and BIZARRE FOODS are showing some signs of tiring out, as reruns aren't able to pull in big numbers.  Numberw were down on Monday and Tuesday nights, compared to a year ago as a result.

MEET THE NATIVES started off slowly when it premiered toward the end of the month, but we're eager to see how it will play out throughout the month of December.




Strategic Opportunities:

Due to Scripps Networks acquiring a majority stake in Travel, we expect a few changes in the comping months.  It's  ikely to find programming crossing over from Food to Travel and vice versa.  One comment from their CEO was telling for the moment.  They see Travel as Lifestyle, consistent with their current network offerings.  While some of that is classic PR spin, there's some truth to it.   We also expect that they'll go to more series and less one-offs like most Scripps nets.


On the subject of travel, Travel Channel IS the category.  Other networks may have it as a subcategory, or as a component of a series, but here, it's the core of most everything they do.  No other network directly competes with them, but rather, nibbles around the edges of some of their genre and certainly audience.

Earlier this year at RealScreen Summit:  Recent updates tell us these 3 Key Points for what travel takes into consideration when evaluating any idea:

-    Lust for life -    Immersion and exploration -    Credible authorship

Lately, an accompanying internet component is what is not only necessary, it is deemed MANDATORY!  Take a look at their website:  you almost have to hunt for the TV part.


Programs usually need a host...make sure they have "a lust for life" and are "credible and IMPASSIONED INSIDERS" (their emphasis).  Programs should be "immersive" (literally defined as "a 3D image that seems to surround the viewer").   "What is the driving force?  What is the story arc?  What is the holy shit factor?"  BTW, good direction for any idea! "INSIDER" SERIES; ANTHROPOLOGY; ARCHAEOLOGY; ARCHITECTURE get $140-200k/hour.

Stay away from stories that are too personal(translation: vacation videos); overly formatted series; gimmicks;  competition programs; serialized formats and programs;  talent that's mere talent ("all hair and teeth") and not credible; docusoaps and pure reality shows.

What Travel does want is "sticky" take-away information; authentic travel experiences;  programs that transport the viewer;  visually appealing images; self-contained episodes (see: no serials); multi-platform opportunities (see: internet); articulate, knowledgeable talent.  And getting younger men is a part of all of this. They're now advertising an HD feed, so it wouldn't hurt to consider what makes a good HD travel show either.

And don't forget the website as a jumping off point for plays to a younger audience, and has a retail connection (tools, trips, etc.).  Travel needs your mind on that as you submit program ideas.

Development: 240-662-6501 Acquisitions: 240-662-2115 ALSO: Download Travel's Spring 2009 Commissioning Brief.