Post Type:post “Pick up the Pieces” | Viamedia


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As soon as you watch History’s reality-series “American Pickers” for the first time, you’ll immediately think of the old saying:

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Surely that is a moto program hosts, Mike Wolf and Frank Fritz, live by. They are antique hunters (or rather “Pickers”), although where I come from we would just say, “Plain ol’ scavengers.” But whatever you want to call them, they sure seem to be making a ‘whole lotta’ money snooping around the dank, musty corners of old barns and garages.

I guess it’s the American way…find something; pay for it (or just “borrow it” if it’s in the garbage); and then sell it for more than you laid out. That’s what Messrs. Wolf and Fritz do so well, and along the way treat their viewers to some very interesting (and sometimes odd) items that often tell us a little bit about our own nation’s history.

A lot of the show’s “pickings“ take place in rural, small town areas, which may explain why “American Pickers performs so well in smaller TV markets. In the chart below, we took a look at the ratings performance for the new season premiere, “The More You No” (10/29/2014 air date), across 200+ DMAs. We ranked the TV markets from the largest (New York) to the smallest (Glendive) and then split them up into five even groups, or quintiles. For each quintile we calculated the average U.S. HH rating which was then indexed against the total U.S. HH rating. The largest quintile of markets (Q1) generated a 1.42 rating – the smallest markets (Q5) 2.32:

Source: Viamedia analysis of Rentrak TV Essentials Data (Telecast Summary Report) for History’s “American Pickers” U.S. HH rating for the Season 7 premiere episode which aired on October 29th, 2014. Viamedia’s quintile analysis utilized Rentrak’s National Telecast Detail / TV Market level data across 200+ DMAs in order to arrive at an average U.S. HH rating by market size.  Ratings are Live-only.

Although the viewing skew to American Pickers is decidedly rural, make no mistake about it – there are lots of devoted viewers to this somewhat quirky series which shows no signs of slowing down in its seventh season, delivering nearly a 2.0 U.S. HH rating through the first six episodes of the current season:

Source: Viamedia analysis of Rentrak TV Essentials Data (Telecast Summary Report) for History’s “American Pickers” for the first six episodes of the current season (#7) and past three seasons (Seasons 4-6). Ratings and shares are Viamedia time-duration weighted estimates for new “American Pickers” airings only (no repeats). Ratings & Shares are Live-only.

Broad Local Cable Advertising Support

Over the past two seasons, American Pickers has attracted well over 300 local cable advertisers across 45 Viamedia markets. Collectively, they have invested in nearly 3,800 30-second (equalized) spots across a range of products and services:

Source: Viamedia analysis of B.I.G. internal database (“Sports & High Profile Tracker”) for any and all local cable advertisers who invested in “American Pickers” in Season  5 (November 2012 – August 2013) & Season 6 (October 2013 – September 2014) across any and all markets.

While – technically — American Pickers began its seventh season this past October, the idea of “seasons” is a convenient label that more readily applies to traditional television fare. The seasons for American Pickers almost seem to run into one another as Mike Wolf and Frank Fritz scour the countryside seeking out “rusty gold” that can be converted into ready cash. It’s an old American pastime that’s attracted millions of viewers, and quite a few local cable advertisers as well.

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– Written by Jonathan Sims, VP Media Research, Viamedia