- “RuPaul’s Drag Race”/VH1
Corporate drama and sagging ratings have been plaguing the various television networks of Viacom. But VH1 has broken away from the pack and is currently in the middle of a ratings resurgence.
On Thursday, the company reported that it had just closed its seventh consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth with an average 11% ratings increase in the demographic that advertisers most covet, adults under the age of 50, according to Nielsen ratings data.
That gives VH1 major bragging rights. It’s one of only two networks that can claim that kind of growth. The other one is Investigation Discovery.
VH1 attributes the ratings uptick in part to the success of its unscripted slate, which includes four of the top 10 unscripted shows on cable with the advertiser audience in live-plus-three viewing (which includes an episode’s first day of viewing and the next three days of viewing via On Demand, DVR, and other platforms). Notably, the Atlanta and New York shows from the “Love & Hip Hop” franchise are ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.
Another contributing factor in the most recent quarter was the move of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” from sister network Logo to VH1. Last week’s season-nine premiere garnered the drag queen competition’s most-watched episode ever with nearly one million total viewers and its highest-rated episode ever in the advertiser demographic.
VH1 also attributes its ratings resurgence to good numbers for its new game show, “Hip Hop Squares,” and the tattoo reality series “Black Ink Crew.”
Like other networks best known for reality fare, VH1 has been delving into scripted series for several years now. Its new hip-hop drama series, “The Breaks,” is attracting the network’s biggest 18-to-49 male audience ever.
Last year when Business Insider took a look at the ratings performances of various Viacom networks amid the company’s corporate shuffling, we found that VH1 was the group’s No. 1 channel with the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49 crowd. Comedy Central and Spike TV came in second and third, respectively.
VH1’s ratings success arrives on the heels of several leadership shifts for it, its sister networks, and Viacom at large.