July 19, 2011

THE SKED: Summer Ratings Update & Late Summer Marketing

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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>At the midpoint of the summer, the four major broadcast networks are moving closer together each week.  NBC had been dominating earlier in the summer, but with the departure of The Voice and to some extent the NHL Playoffs, the peacock has slid from a weekly average of around a 2 rating with Adults 18-49 to a mid-1 rating.  CBS has awakened with the arrival of Big Brother.  ABC has been relatively consistent in the low-1 range, while FOX has bounced around a bit, driven by some special events such as the Major League All-Star Game most recently.  CW, as usual, does not make any impact in the summer with its all-repeat schedule of already low-rated series.

Weekly Network Averages — Adults 18-49

Week of     ABC   CBS   NBC   FOX   CW
June 13     1.2   1.1   2.0   1.6   0.3
June 20     1.3   1.1   1.8   1.4   0.3
June 27     1.3   1.0   1.6   1.2   0.3
July 4      1.4   1.2   1.6   1.3   0.3
July 11     1.3   1.3   1.4   1.7   0.3

Of course, a network schedule is made up of individual programs and not a generic weekly line-up.  The programs listed below are the main drivers for each network.  Right now, executive producers of and agents for new fall series are fighting to get promotional spots into Bachelorette, Big Brother, America’s Got Talent and MasterChef.  A spot in a repeat series might count toward the new show’s total campaign, but it doesn’t have anywhere near the impact of a placement in a hit show.

18-49 Ratings Above 2.0 — Week of July 11-17

Monday: ABC Bachelorette 2.6, FOX MasterChef 2.2
Tuesday: NBC America’s Got Talent 4.0, FOX All-Star Game 3.1
Wednesday: NBC America’s Got Talent 3.0, CBS Big Brother 2.6
Thursday: CBS Big Brother 2.3
Friday: None
Saturday: None
Sunday: CBS Big Brother 2.4

So as we head into the final stretch toward Premiere Week, no network has a routine advantage week in and week out in terms of promotional rating points on its own air.  The big marketing differentiators for new shows will be money spent on outside media such as cable TV spots, digital, print and outdoor.

But we will keep an eye on the few network hits and report on what new series are getting the lion’s share of the sought-after promotional positions.

About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.