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TruTV Performance/Schedule Analysis - March 2009

PERFORMANCE/SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

(Updated as of April 22, 2009)

TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:

Adults 18-49, Adults 25-54.

MARCH 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

TOP PRIMETIME SHOWS:

SMOKING GUN PRESENTS, COPS, MOST SHOCKING, OPERATION REPO, INSIDE

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

Original series dominate TruTV's primetime schedule.  The only acquired program is COPS. Since most of their series provide a different take in the area of criminal law and justice, there are no thematic evenings distinct from one another, rather a relatively even distribution of original series.  A heavy reliance on FORENSIC FILES and a handful of other series dominates the schedule.   

As new series are introduced to the schedule, the network created a few generic slots across the week for repeats.  The additional exhibitions in short bursts of 2-4 weeks give their new titles a chance to gain recognition with the casual viewer.  When a series does break out, like MOST SHOCKING, they have moved it into a regular timeslot.

With the transition of the network to TruTv at the beginning of 2008, the crime and investigation focus has been replaced with a broader, non-fiction/reality mix of programs.  While the existing base of crime series continues, new programming explores topics as diverse as oil wildcatters, poolside waitresses in Las Vegas, and repo men.

PROGRAM/SCHEDULE CHANGES:

FEBRUARY to MARCH:

Monday - entire night was taken over by top rated OPERATION REPO

Tuesday - 8pm features OPERATION REPO, with an inventory mix filling out the rest of the evening

Thursday - SPEEDERS FIGHTS BACK is replaced by SPEEDERS at 8:30pm

Friday - WORLD'S WILDEST fills the 8pm slot this month

PREMIERES:

** None announced

APRIL AND BEYOND:

PREMIERES:

** None announced

YEAR AGO/BIG PICTURE:

It's mostly good news this month for Tru TV.  After falling off in February, audiences returned in March.  Every demo break was up on a month to month basis, especially in the younger 18-49 groups.  Annual comparisons also fared well.  Target men 18-49 were up 5%.  The one blip in the trends comes with Men 25-54.  They dropped 4% from last year, but remain solid in their absolute delivery.  The grab for younger viewers (and chasing away the older ones) has pushed the median age down to some of its lowest levels since we've been tracking the network. 

There were zero new properties introduced this month, although new episodes of older series were peppered throughout.  OPERATION REPO's return to the schedule is behind most of the upticks.  More on that below.  In addition, bringing repeats of younger targeted series to Saturdays has benefited the network averages for the 2nd month in a row. 

Last year, April began the spring fade for audiences.  Even without any announced premiere series, an emphasis on repeating stronger and younger series should be enough to keep March's momentum carrying through another month.

MARCH 2009 RATINGS ANALYSIS:

OPERATION REPO was the big story in March.  The reality series returned to the schedule after a hiatus in February and started right where it left off.  Mondays were completely devoted to three hour stacks of the half hours series, with premieres in the 10pm slot.  A couple more repeats were dropped into Tuesdays as well.  Everything worked.  Unlike some properties, REPO appears to do just as well in repeats as it does with premieres.  In fact, the highest demo deliveries this month were all repeats.  That's the kind of versatility and shelf life that programmers love. 

MOST DARING ran a full month of premieres on Wednesdays with decent results.  Series delivered average to above average in the key male demos.  Repeats were scattered throughout the week with weaker results. 

MOST SHOCKING was all repeats in March, but still managed to draw average audiences for target men.  That's based on the regular Wednesday schedule, as well as a few repeats tossed around the week.

SPEEDERS also had a ful month of premieres in its regular Thursday slot.  Results were mixed.  Couple very strong weeks and a couple weeks well below average.  Repeats on Saturday were killed, making the properties overall numbers for the month well below the network average in the key demos.

SMOKING GUN PRESENTS was solid with brand new episodes at 9pm Thursdays.  With one exception on a tough night, every premiere outperformed the net's prime average.  Same for repeats of the series at 10pm.  A small marathon of repeats was scheduled to bolster up a Saturday night with little success.  As we saw with SPEEDERS, seems like Saturday is problematic in drawing an audience right now.

Friday nights are ladies night as FORENSIC FILES continues to be the network's only regular series to go female.   The series and thus, the night, are the lowest rated on the schedule in terms of men and adults 18-49. 

COPS had a good month in March.  Numbers were up from February, as well as year ago.  In terms of delivering target men, the off net series was #1 for 18-49 and #2 for 25-54, just behind OPERATION REPO. 

The special ATOCHA ADVENTURE debuted on a Wednesday night as a backdoor series pilot.  We weren't able to watch the program, but based on the numbers, there's some work to be done before it goes to series.  Overall audiences were below average.  More important, men were below average.  On the surface, the topic seems better suited for other networks on the dial.  If the net can garner a foothold with compatible programming, say BLACK GOLD for example, then maybe a treasure hunting family series can help build a new night of programming beyond the crime and humor shows.

PROGRAM ACQUISITIONS:

None announced.

PROGRAM RENEWALS:

SPEEDERS; SPEEDERS FIGHT BACK;

PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS:

None announced.

ADDITIONAL SHOWS CURRENTLY AIRING:

DISORDER IN THE COURT, STRINGERS: LA, HAUNTING EVIDENCE, BEACH PATROL, SUBURBAN SECRETS