Wednesday, July 6, 2016

GSN press release: 2nd Quarter Highest Rated in network history

The second quarter this year for GSN (from March 28th, 2016 to June 26th, 2016) was their highest-rated quarter in 21-year network history for primetime (8-11pm ET, 7 days a week).

The press release below includes how Skin Wars and Skin Wars: Fresh Paint have heavily contributed to viewership and demo growth, while Winsanity, which has not been performing too well, is briefly thrown in at the very end with an error on GSN's part (premiered June 9th, not June 6th).

In other words, it is quite obvious that GSN is favoring Skin Wars and Skin Wars: Fresh Paint over Winsanity and Idiotest (not mentioned at all).

I give Steve Harvey's Family Feud the most credit for GSN's strong ratings lately since Harvey Feud alone covered 16 of 21 hours of the primetime schedule (76% of primetime) after April 25th. For part of the second quarter, Steve Harvey Family Feud covered 17 of 21 hours of primetime (81% of primetime) and always delivered very strong ratings.

Not mentioned in the press release, the GSN viewer average for the 2nd quarter was 469,000 primetime viewers and 311,000 total day viewers. 

In comparison (primetime/total day):
Second Quarter 2016: 469K/311K
Second Quarter 2015: 408K/311K (2nd Quarter 2016 up 15%/flat from 2015)
Second Quarter 2014: 326K/246K (2nd Quarter 2016 up 44%/up 26% from 2014)
Second Quarter 2013: 382K/275K (2nd Quarter 2016 up 23%/up 13% from 2013)

I threw in the total day averages to show that there is a rise in total day. However, the 2nd Quarter of 2016 was not the highest rated total day ratings average ever for GSN.

The press release:


GSN just finished its best 2Q ever in prime among all key demos. The net, which has steadily increased viewership for the past 4 years, broke 2Q delivery records for HH, P2+, P25-54, W25-54, P18-49, W18-49. This also marks the 2nd straight year of 2Q growth for those demos. GSN’s success was partially driven by season three of their popular Skin Wars series, and the launch of its first spinoff, Skin Wars: Fresh Paint, which debuted to record ratings on June 15, becoming the #1 competitive reality series debut, and #2 series debut, in GSN history. The new game showWinsanity, hosted by Donald Faison, which debuted June 6, was also a key contributor to the overall success.   


  1. Actually Winsanity premiered June 9th.

    1. As usual, press releases like this once again show you how much GSN is out of touch with their actual core audience. They can brag all they want about hitting demo targets and raising their primetime average, but while their ego levels go through the roof on being able to charge more money for ads because of the 18-49 demo, what they don't mention in any of their PRs is that the general game show audience is ticked off by the fact that there's an overkill of Feud, and a general focus away from game shows into reality competitions like Skin Wars, Hellevator, Window Warriors, etc.

      I still strongly feel that at some point, GSN is going to end up in the Syfy situation. For those who don't remember, starting around 2009 when they rebranded their name, Syfy moved away from airing and producing original science fiction programs, and moved into the reality and WWE department. All traditional sci-fi viewers were ticked off, and rightfully so. It took about 5-6 years, but starting in 2015, the senior EVP of programming at Syfy (don't remember specifically, but I think it was either Dave Howe or Bill McGoldrick), finally acknowledged that the channel had lost its #1 spot in the genre it was built upon, and that they would place a renewed focus on once again becoming the kings of the sci-fi genre.

      After that happened, starting in 2015, Syfy began spending money again on producing actual hardcore sci-fi series. That's why we have shows like Killjoys, Dark Matter, The Expanse, etc., with more sci-fi shows like Hyperion, Gateway and 3001: A Space Odyssey in development for 2017 and beyond. Of course there's still reality and non-scripted being produced, but less focus is being placed on them now. But as you can see, it took them the better half of a decade to realize their mistake, and now of course the challenge is bringing back all those ticked off viewers who left (previous sci-fi series like Stargate averaged around 3-4 million viewers per episode; now, the average of the current sci-fi programs is around 1-2 million, mainly in part due to the viewers who had previously abandoned the channel during the 2009-2015 era, when the shift to reality/wrestling occurred). The traditional viewers will return, but it'll take a very long time (probably another 5-10 years) for Syfy to recapture them and earn their trust back.

      The same exact thing is going to happen with GSN, and ABC's success with their Sunday Night block is just further proving it (especially since CBS' Big Brother, a reality competition which previously was a ratings superstar in the summer alongside AGT, is finally losing its star power). I've said it before and I'll say it again. GSN will end up going through a similar period, focused on reality programming, and they'll lose 80% of their core audience in the process. Then at some point down the road, someone at the network will wake up and realize what's happened, and then shift the focus back to developing traditional in-studio game shows. But of course, by that point, the same thing that happened with Syfy will have happened to GSN as well, and it'll be an uphill battle for GSN to regain their core audience's trust and viewership.

      Replacing the core audience of a channel with a generic audience only works for so long. The generic audience isn't as dedicated or interested in viewing the channel on a long-term basis. Another example to this effect is Nintendo. Their core audience was hardcore Nintendo gamers. Then the Wii came out in 2006 and the focus shifted to a generic family audience. That worked extremely well at the time, but in 2012, Nintendo wasn't able to retain that same generic audience, and they didn't buy into the Wii U, the Wii's successor. Furthermore, the Wii U also failed at bringing back the hardcore gamers who also jumped ship during the Wii era from 2006-2012.

    2. So as you can see, it doesn't matter which company we're talking about here. Yes, you obviously want to market your products or TV shows to the broadest amount of people possible, but if you abandon your core audience, the loyal people who've stayed with your brand for such a long amount of time, in favor of a generic audience who has no loyalty and can't be retained in the long-term, then you're only hurting yourself in the process, and eventually, it'll be one heck of a tough sell to bring that core audience back.

    3. I dunno, Scott T., I'd argue GSN already went through a SyFy situation when...they became GSN. Anyone remember how bad it was in March 2004 when they rebranded from Game Show Network to GSN and tried to focus on more reality shows than game shows, such as Kenny Vs Spenny, Fake-A-Date, World Series Of Poker, and reruns of The Mole, Star Search, and The Amazing Race? Of all those shows, the only one that succeeded was Poker. By spring 2005 they were back to focusing on game shows.
      Now, could you argue that history is now repeating itself? Yeah, but I don't think it's as drastic or as dire as it was in 2004.

    4. I did notice that SyFy is going back to showing actual science fiction stuff again. Big Brother is getting old, that's why the ratings have been on a slow decline. This past Sunday's episode had 4.7 million viewers. It was because of two things. 1. The Holiday 2. Steve and Friends. It's a matter of time before CBS cans the show. I hope GSN develops more actual game shows than reality. It's sad when ABC knows how a game show works when GSN doesn't. Window Warriors will be a bomb because it really doesn't have a lead in except Harvey. But I don't think the Harvey viewers would stick around with that. Just like how apparently Harvey Feud viewers don't watch Winsanity when 9:00 pm arrives.

  2. A suggestion for a story - DirecTV finally added an HD feed of GSN.

  3. making a quote according to the article that says about Winsanity "Was a key contribution to the overall success".

    More like a key contribution to the overall success of failure.