12:01pm PT by Michael O'Connell
Viceland Pulling Half of H2's Ratings — But Skewing 17 Years Younger
The first ratings are in for A+E upstart Viceland — and there's good news and bad news.
Unsurprisingly, total viewership is down from the highs of retired heavyweight H2. Among adults 18-49, Viceland's primetime average for July is actually down 51 percent from what the late History spinoff pulled in its former spot on the cable dial, per stats first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Premiere telecasts, however, are faring better — and the average age of the Viceland audience is already 17 years younger than that of H2 in its fifth month on the air. Premiere episodes in July averaged 102,000 adults 18-49 to H2's 59,000, and the median viewer age is now down to an enviable 40. (Nielsen Media is not publicly reporting Viceland, but sources confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that they are accurate.)
Those numbers are still low, however. The 100,000-viewer mark for adults 18-49 puts Viceland programming between softer first-run cable fare like Showtime's Dice (116,000 adults 18-49) and IFC's late Maron (93,000 adults 18-49) in terms of linear appeal.
But linear ratings, according to Viceland's ultimate cable topper A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc, are not the top priority.
"It's doing exactly what we set out to do, and it has garnered a couple of Emmy nominations for a 3-month-old channel," Dubuc said in THR's recent TV Titans executive roundtable. "The goal was to attract an audience that is not watching much TV, and it has been growing every week, and the ratings are going to be public soon enough. But we're trying to pivot the conversation away from just purely ratings."
Those Emmys, for Women With Gloria Steinem and Gaycation, are part of what Dubuc emphasized as a broader, different take on the TV business. That also includes A+E Networks' stake in Vice Media, a joint venture of The Walt Disney Company and Hearst Corporation.
Full transparency for Viceland ratings is not far off. A+E Networks' deal with Nielsen to keep those ratings from being reported expires at the end of the network's initial six-month run come September.