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Vh1 Analysis - September 2010



* Bold denotes programming change


VH1 continues to concentrate on home-grown series, often built around Reality "stars" from earlier series (e.g. NEW YORK GOES TO WORK featuring a former FLAVOR OF LOVE contestant.) VH1's primetime lineup is very fluid in nature, leading to a lot of "Various" programs on their schedule grid.

VH1 will occasionally stack night of programming and air episodes of the same show back-to-back-to-back.  This can prove extremely successful for them, especially when they use these mini-marathons to premiere the latest episodes of a successful original series. Episodes of new series tend to receive multiple Prime plays during the week each episode premieres. This fluid approach to scheduling, however can take its toll on viewer loyalty, as the lack of a discernible schedule on many nights seems to have harmed viewership in 2010.

Music-oriented fare continues to make its presence felt on VH1, with survey-oriented specials (100 GREATEST...) joining occasional new epsiodes of the venerable BEHIND THE MUSIC series, along with concert specials and documentaries.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / October 2010 vs. October 2009  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

VH1's stretch of year-to-year losses continued for a tenth straight month, as September 2010's HH and A18-49 Rtgs delivered less than 2/3 compared the same month last year. September's delivery was up slightly from last month, though, overall, with notable month-to-month gains on four nights.

Every night experienced double-digit demo losses from the same month last year, with Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday especially worrisome. In addition to this 10-month streak of year-to-year losses, September's numbers give evidence of the continued ageing of VH1 as the Prime Median Age jumped 11% compared to last year, continuing a four-month streak representing an ongoing average double-digit increase in Median Age since June 2010.

Series shuffled in and out throughout the month, with only MONEY HUNGRY on Monday having four regularly scheduled telecasts in the same time slot during the September survey. Nearly 2/3  of September's 21 time-slot hours had no discernible regular schedule.

Consistency did not help  MONEY HUNGRY on Monday however, as the series finished 38% below VH1's Prime HH average on this night. Combined with a mixed bag of series and specials at 8pm, and SCREAM QUEENS 2 at 10pm, this led to September's steepest losses for any night compared to last year and  last month.

Tuesday's night as a whole was down by over 1/3  from last year for HH and demos, and declined modestly from last month. The only highlight of the September scheduling smorgasbord on this night was the beginning of a three-night stunt of 1000 GREATEST ARTISTS OF...

Wednesday's highlight was its block of three episodes of 100 GREATEST ARTISTS OF..., which nearly doubled the monthly average for RP18-49.

Thursday also benefited from three runs of 100 GREATEST ARTISTS OF..., as September only saw stunt scheduling on this night. HH delivery was up slightly over last month but ratings were down sharply across-the board compared to last year. The night also grew a considerable 39% in Median Age from last year.

Friday also lost nearly half of September 2009's HH and demos, but was up sharply from last month,

particularly in male demos. Nostalgia-driven mini-series (I LOVE THE 80'S, ...NEW MILLENIUM) seemed to draw the most interest from men on Friday.

A run of the venerable ROAD HOUSE, along with the hip-hop-centric title ATL topped Saturday's movie offerings, as the night was down somewhat from last year and up sharply in RW18-49 from last month.

Monthly growth was more modest on Sunday, despite fresh epsides of OCHOCINCO: THE ULTIMATE CATCH and THE T.O. SHOW, along with the debut of REAL & CHANCE: LEGEND HUNTERS at 9pm. HH Rtgs dropped 40% from the first to second epsidoe of this new series in the last two weeks of the survey.


VH1 has been extremely successful in the creation of an entirely new genre of programming.  Coining the phrase Celebreality, Vh1 has created several hit shows revolving around celebrities, past and present, and their "real" lives.

So now, the task at hand is to determine how they can expand beyond what's expected - and reach out to an even broader audience.  It's great to have programs that are celebrity-based, but anything that has amazing characters, tells a good story, and does it in a compelling way, is going to interest the net. Recently, VH1 has expanded into the original M.O.W. realm, with their first original feature being produced by Queen Latifah's production company, Favor Unit. Flavor Unit is also producing VH1's forst scripted drama, based on the same characters as the M.O.W.


VH1's Celebreality hits have received a lot of attention and ratings success in the past. The network, however, continues to expand upon their brand to bring unique documentaries and interesting pop culture and music-related series to air.

VH1 has said that they are actively looking for documentaries in their ROCK DOC block.  They are looking for "intimate stories," "iconic characters" (namely 60s and 70s icons), and intelligent documentaries that aren't afraid to take chances.  Think "big stories" told through a "small narrative," too.

In addition, they're looking to expand beyond just Celebreality.  TOOL ACADEMY and THE PICK-UP ARTIST were fairly big successes for the network and they're looking for the next version of those series.