Good or Bad? 2011 is BET’s Most Watched Year Ever
Things are looking up for BET in terms of viewers. This year marked the third consecutive year of growth for the network and 2011 is BET’s most watched year ever among all viewers, according to Nielsen. There’s not much to choose from in terms of black networks, still many people had sworn off BET because of the steady decline of quality programs and the increased promotion of rap culture and the questionable lyrics and lifestyle that go along with it. So is the growth of BET a positive sign of the network’s transformation or an indication that viewer’s aren’t looking for quality?
In 2011, BET had more top ranked original programming among Black viewers than any other network, with The Game coming in at no. 1, Let’s Stay Together at no. 2, Sunday Best at no. 4, and Reed Between the Lines at no. 9. A Toya Family Affair, Born to Dance, and The Family Crews Season 2 also ranked in the top 20.
The success of BET’s scripted content caused BET to have the largest audience growth of any other cable network among Black women 18-49 on Tuesday Nights, placing it in the no. 3 position for that day. Season 4 of The Game also ranks no. 1 in ad-supported cable TV history, averaging 4.3 million viewers. The show also ranks among the top 5 series on cable TV among Adults 18-49.
It appears BET has found a way to balance its content between reality TV, scripted series, and music programming like 106 & Park and its music awards to bring in a female audience and strengthen its viewership. With T. J. Holmes joining the network, they also have an opportunity to share news stories African Americans want to see and can’t find on other programs, and restore some of the network’s lost integrity.
Do you watch any shows on BET? Have you noticed an improvement in their programming? Do you think growth of the network is a good thing?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.