Bravo’s Third Week of Sweeps Isn’t Much Better Than Their Second – Year-on-Year Down 18% & 18-49 Down 25%

Bravo Media & Nielsen Media Logos - Sweeps November 11 - November 17 2012

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As we wrote last week, Bravo Media held back all of their big guns for the second week of Nielsen’s Fall Sweeps and apart from The Real of Housewives of Atlanta’s season five premiere getting off to a record start, the rest of that week was best swept away. So, how did the third week go?

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Unfortunately, not only wasn’t it any better but when compared like-for-like with the programming for the same week in 2011, total audience levels declined by 18%. In the equivalent week in 2011 Bravo TV aired a total of 8 hours of original programming over four nights, versus last week’s 12 hours over five nights. The additions being; five versus two episodes of Watch What Happens Live, this year two episodes of The Real Housewives of Miami aired, whereas in 2011 no original programming was aired on Thursday, November 17th and the last difference is LOLwork added on Wednesday’s, giving that night 3 hours of first run programming.

Comparing the like-for-like audience totals for the same 8 hours in the same time slots, gives the following results:

Day/Time Show Episode Aud (‘000’s) Show Episode Aud (‘000’s) Inc% Dec%
Sun 9pm RHoA S04E02 3,007 RHoA S05E02 2,555 -15%
Sun 11pm WWHL S05E15 1,714 WWHL S08E44 1,278 -25%
Mon 9pm RHoBH S02E11 2,315 RHoBH S03E02 1,999 -14%
Mon 10pm HeadHunt Special 819 SUSV S01E02 584 -29%
Mon 11pm WWHL S05E16 911 WWHL S08E45 701 -23%
Tue 9pm M. Match S05E12 1,173 M$Dec S02E01 743 -37%
Tue 10pm Mad Fash S01E07 697 FlipOut S06E10 1,083 71%
Tue 10pm FashHunt S01E07 569
Wed 9pm WorkArt S02E06 727 LATC S01E06 471 -35%
Wed10pm TopChef S09E03 1,453 TopChef S10E02 941 -35%

Note – I’ve averaged the viewership for Mad Fashion and Fashion Hunters across the full hour (to 633,000 viewers/Demo 0.30) to compare it accurately with Flipping Out’s ratings.

As you can see that Tuesday 10pm time slot, was the only hour in which Bravo TV‘s ratings were up year-on-year, with all others down markedly. RHoA & RHoBH; the highest rated shows, saw the smallest declines of 15% & 14% respectively; WWHL’s two airings which followed them, saw falls of 25% & 29% and Top Chef saw a decline from its 9th season by a damaging 35%. Likewise Life After Top Chef was also down 35% compared to the cancelled Work of Art.

Randi Zuckerberg’s Start Up Silicon Valley failed to compete with last year’s one-off special “The Head Huntress” which, with 819,000 viewers rated 29% higher than SUSV.

This week’s only premiere was the return of Million Dollar Decorators at 10pm Tuesday. It’s perplexing that it was even given a second season given that it averaged under 0.30 in the 18-49 demo in its first, however, debuting in the same time slot that Millionaire Matchmaker held in 2011, against that it was down 37% in total audience and 50% in the 18-49 demo. Additionally it debuted 5% lower than its freshman season premiere.

While viewership is down 18% on a total audience comparison, in one of Bravo Media’s key advertiser demographics, those aged 18 to 49 years, the ratings decline is even greater – down by over 25% on average.

Day/Time Show Episode 18-49 Demo% Show Episode 18-49 Demo% Inc% Dec%
Sun 9pm RHoA S04E02 1.60 RHoA S05E02 1.20 -25%
Sun 11pm WWHL S05E15 0.80 WWHL S08E44 0.60 -25%
Mon 9pm RHoBH S02E11 1.10 RHoBH S03E02 0.90 -18%
Mon 10pm HeadHunt Special 0.40 SUSV S01E02 0.30 -25%
Mon 11pm WWHL S05E16 0.40 WWHL S08E45 0.30 -25%
Tue 9pm M. Match S05E12 0.60 M$Dec S02E01 0.30 -50%
Tue 10pm Mad Fash S01E07 0.30 FlipOut S06E10 0.50 67%
Tue 10pm FashHunt S01E07 0.30
Wed 9pm WorkArt S02E06 0.40 LATC S01E06 0.20 -50%
Wed10pm Top Chef S09E03 0.70 TopChef S10E02 0.40 -43%

It is true that Bravo Media can accurately claim that viewership for their first run programming still showed an overall increase, but that is only due to the additional 4 hours of original programming. Even then, if we subtracted the last minute Sunday airing of RHoM, which attracted 1.6m viewers, then the combined audience totals over the 11 hours remaining, is more or less the same as last year’s 8 hours. And of course, those additional hours cost Bravo Media hard dollars in producing and acquiring them.

The last time Bravo PR was able to put out a Press Release heralding their monthly ratings growth was April 2012, and unless they have a dramatic turnaround with their ratings it will be awhile before they can do so again.

This week is a short week owing to Thanksgiving but last year RHoA, RHoBH & Top Chef all aired in the equivalent week, and we’ll be back next week to wrap up our Fall Sweeps posts, as this Wednesday 11/21, is the last night of the 2012 Nielsen Sweeps.

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  • Brian

    Bravo has stumbled in my opinion because they have served up samey tired programming. Watching rich people act, stupid and worry or fight about trivial things is boring. Where is the diversity in programming?

    It was a terrible move for Top Chef to bring 3 old contestants back. I was not only shocked but disappointed. Those returning contestants belong in second chance season.

    WWHL really is the Andy Cohen show and is a sounding board for his politics and ideas which is is off putting to some viewers. I wish he would take a less biased view towards things and focus more on Bravo shows and interviewing his guests. I don’t think I’ve watched the show in about 2 months.

    I don’t see Bravo improving and also don’t have any hope that the scripted dramas ordered by the network will improve their fortunes. I’m sure I can guess Andy’s Jackhole of the week when he gets the boot.

    • amber

      I agree with your descriptions, i have quit watching Top Chef, silly as it may sound I was bothered by Padma’s “cutesy” dancing, posing during that constant “top Chef” promotion they kept playing. The show used to be good but just seems desperate now and the contestants cuss way too much for me. As for WWHL, if you did not watch during election season you missed alot of Mazels for democrats and jackholes for republicans and Fox news. Bartenders are getting a little raunchy too.

  • Ethel

    Things with Bravo started to go sour for me with the endless pandering to Theresa of RoHNJ and all of the attendant negativity – I don’t have time nor patience for trash like that. The LOL show is a really dumb idea and title. I have no interest in tiresome shows about overly-privileged characters worrying only about how to either spend or make another million (MDD & SUSV). Top Chef, a big favorite, ruined itself by including the 3 returning chefs, a move that only looks/is desperate. LATC is just a dud. And Andy Cohen is much too full of himself, a real turn off.

    • Allyson

      Great comments. And I’ll never understand why Andy is so full of himself. He’s not great looking, not very funny or intelligent, and his odd head/facial movements are so off-putting. I wish bravo would minimize his presence and let other bravolebrities host wwhl and the reunions. Jeff Lewis or jenni would be good. Or heather from rhoc. Am I alone in thinking this way?

    • amber

      could not have said it better Ethel!

  • amber

    I enjoy (somewhat) watching the Millionaire Listing shows so I tried Million Dollar Decorators. About 8 minutes in they got to a project of redecorating a young girl’s bedroom, which was already beautiful, at a cost of $1 million, rolled my eyes and changed the channel. LOL, LATC and SUSV are terrible too. Flipping Out is struggling (grandmother’s house and Jeff’s own house). Andrew is the only redeeming feature this season. WWHL is too wrapped up in the marry, shag, kill obsession and the partisan slant on the part of the host.