TV Land Has Some Angry Fans, But What's Happened To The Ratings?

Categories: Cable TV,Featured

Written By

July 24th, 2009

7/30 Update: Sadly, I was unable to get any ratings information from TVLand communications people. I will be taking off for a month starting on 7/30, so I won't have a chance to close the loop on this, and without any additional information there's really not much more to write about.

tv land

I was contacted recently by a few TV Land fans who wanted me to write something up about what's been happening at the network. I'll be the first to admit I've never watched the network, and so I'm going to paraphrase some of their remarks:

TV Land has made recent programming changes that a number of viewers are unhappy about, and have expressed that unhappiness in the TV Land forums.  Things had gotten somewhat out of control and moderators had, for a time, closed down some of the forums.

Generally commenters like the old time TV shows and don't like the newer reality shows, and the addition of shows like Rosanne and Married With Children.  Many also see it as move away from family friendly programming.

TVLand PRIME was launched last September and has really been the nail in the coffin of the old TVLand.  They have been moving away from all the older series of the 50's-70's for a couple of years now.

I was interested because this ties in somewhat with my earlier post about cable networks abandoning their niche "roots" to grab for bigger general interest audiences. I wrote at the time that I couldn't really blame the networks, they are, after all, running businesses.

We have plenty of experience with the reality that the attitudes of a group of disgruntled fans on the internet cannot be extrapolated into the general population, so I was interested to see what story the ratings I had told.

I don't know exactly when the changes began that have the group of  TVLand fans in an uproar, and I only have a few ratings data points, so that's all I can look at. I also don't know what the TV Land target demographic is, so I limited this to adults 18-49 which is the most general advertiser targeted group.

Update: The TV Land forum moderator let us know in the comments that the target is adults 40-54. Sadly, I don't have data for that group, but I may be able to get it from TV Land communications folks. The adults 18-49 data will have to do for now.

TV Land's average primetime adults 18-49 viewership

2007: 288,000

2008 (through 12/21/08): 288,000

That's the very definition of steady as she goes. Any programming changes between 2007 and 2008 had no overall effect on the annual averages.

For 2009, I have several year/year monthly comparisons:

February (2009 v. 2008): 276,000 vs. 307,000; down 10%

April (2009 v. 2008): 250,000 vs. 246,000; up 2%

May (2009 v. 2008): 216,000 vs. 301,000; down 28%

June (2009 v. 2008): 250,000 vs. 291,000; down 14%

The 2009 vs. 2008 comparisons for those four months don't look good. Not only are 3 of the 4 months down, but all the monthly numbers are below the averages for the prior two years.

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For reference, the top 40 (out of ~230) airings on TV Land last week (7/13-19) were a combination of Bonanza, Andy Griffith Show and Gunsmoke.

Here are the numbers for TV Land's top 5 airings last week (note these numbers are all viewers 2 and older, not adults 18-49 as above).

Rank Programs Net Day Time Viewers (Live+SD) (000s)
1 BONANZA TVLD Sun 03:00P-04:00P 1,354
2 ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW TVLD Sun 04:00P-04:30P 1,075
3 ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW TVLD Sun 06:00P-06:30P 1,071
4 BONANZA TVLD Sun 02:00P-03:00P 1,070
5 ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW TVLD Sun 05:30P-06:00P 1,070

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Something's going on this year vs. last at TV Land. I'm sure there are some TV Land viewers that would love to fill me in on the particulars from their perspective.

I have asked for comment from TV Land press resources, but haven't yet received a reply. I will update this post (or perhaps do another one) if/when I do.

Update: I have connected with TV Land communications folks, and hope to get relevant information from them.

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The monthly/annual adults 18-49 numbers above are a blend of Live+7 (when available) and otherwise Live+Same Day viewing. Last week's show viewership numbers are Live+SD.

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

 
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