Who’s Hot? Who’s Not! U.S. Factual Channel Audiences, 4Q2011 vs 4Q2010

Which U.S. Factual channels are gaining or losing prime time viewers year-to-year?

Here are three highlights:

  • A&E swoops into the #1 spot on our list of Factual channels that gained average prime time viewers (+192,000).
  • Food (+106,000) and VH1 (+97,000) are on a roll.
  • Discovery Networks’ ID is up 90,000.

METHODOLOGY

Our bucket of channels is not apples-to-apples:

  • It includes channels that are dedicated to non-scripted, for example Nat Geo and Discovery.
  • And others like A&E and MTV that include Scripted in the mix.
  • Some channels that schedule Factual are unrated, or were not rated last year.

Our quarterly, high-level snapshot is prepared with the assistance of John Morse, president of research firm Byron Media.

DOCUMENTARYTELEVISION.COM CHART:  WHO’S HOT? WHO’S NOT!

U.S. Factual Channels
Average Quarterly Prime Time Audience, 4Q’11 versus 4Q’10
(‘000)

 

Viewers:

 

 

 

Rating 4Q’11

4Q’11

4Q’10

Change

%

A&E

1.2

1,178

986

192

19%

DISCOVERY

1.0

954

815

139

17%

FOOD

0.9

925

819

106

13%

VH1

0.5

445

348

97

28%

ID: INVEST DIS

0.6

448

358

90

25%

BRAVO

0.9

822

750

72

10%

SYFY

1.0

       964

907

57

6%

NAT GEO WILD

0.2

123

86

37

43%

BIO

0.2

160

140

20

14%

MILITARY

0.2

142

122

20

16%

E! ENTERTT

0.6

558

539

19

4%

STYLE

0.2

153

135

18

13%

BET

0.7

601

586

15

3%

H2 (HIST INTL)

0.3

166

154

12

8%

ANIMAL PLANET

0.4

415

407

8

2%

HISTORY

1.3

1,237

1,246

-9

0%

OWN: OPRAH

0.2

186

195

-9

-5%

NAT GEO CHAN

0.4

340

350

-10

-3%

TRU TV

0.8

733

749

-16

-2%

WE

0.3

213

230

-17

-7%

MTV

0.8

       761

782

-21

-3%

OXYGEN

0.4

317

348

-31

-9%

HGTV

0.9

       891

     931

-40

-4%

TRAVEL

0.3

322

370

-48

-13%
TLC

0.8

824

910

-86

-9%

SPIKE

0.6

635

756

-121

-16%

Factual Networks

14,950

14,019

494

4%

 

Quantity Not Quality

  • Most ad-supported channels sell media based on their target demos.
  • And networks rate their performance (and those of their managers) quarter-to-quarter rather than year-to-year.
  • Nevertheless, our measure of the quarterly ‘average prime time’ audience is a useful tool for gauging relative scale of viewing and trends.

HIGHLIGHTS

Largest audience in our sample (‘000)

  • History (1,237), A&E (1,178), SYFY (964), Discovery (954), Food (925)
  • Discovery and Food replaced HGTV and MTV in our Top 5

Growth (%)

  • Top 5: Nat Geo Wild (43% – reflecting solid sub growth), VH1 (28%), ID (marching on at 25%), A&E (19% – Whew! It’s hot!) and Discovery (17% – the squadron leader turns around)
  • Audience losers were Spike (-16%), Travel (-13%), TLC (-9%), Oxygen (-9%), We (-7%)

The Factual Tide Keeps Rising

  • The broad Unscripted category continues to grow at the expense of Scripted, News and other categories.
  • The year-to-year increase for DocumentaryTelevision.com’s bucket of Basic factual channels was a steady 4%.

OTHERS

Here are 4Q’11 prime time averages for a selection of channels…

 

Viewers:

Rating 4Q11

4Q’11

USA

2.7

      2,656

LIFETIME

1.0

         961

WEATHER

0.3

         268

IFC

0.2

         121
LOGO

0.1

           40
MSNBC

0.7

         624
HBO (Pay)

3.7

     1,126

DISC FIT & HEALTH

0.2

84

PL GREEN

0.2

100

SCIENCE

0.3

186

DIY

0.2

97

CURRENT

0.1

56

VELOCITY

0.2

66

OVATION

0.1

34

 

Coming Soon

  • Top Non-fiction series in 2011
  • Cosmic Shore: A Blue Chip Science production from Japan’s NHK
  • And more…

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