Reeling In May Movies

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Employing a tactic it has used against other big broadcast programming periods, Lifetime Television will take the upcoming May sweeps period head-on with movies.

The women’s-targeted cable network will offer a “New Movie Every Day in May.”

Lifetime executive vice president of research Tim Brooks said the channel and other cable networks have effectively deployed movie marathons as a means to counterprogram the Olympics, broadcasters’ premiere weeks or in December, when broadcasters have run a host of specials.

“It’s not hard to get viewers during sweeps. The people who have never seen Alias in the first place are not going to be turning there for the series finale,” said Brooks. “But it is hard to get a message across in terms of the broadcasters’ marketing noise, as well as all the press coverage season and series finales and specials receive.”

Brooks noted that one of the benefits of Lifetime’s strong brand is that it won’t have to invest much in the way of promotion to make its own noise.

“We’re going to leverage the brand,” he said. “The viewers know Lifetime and they know Lifetime equals movies.”

Lifetime’s 31-film lineup, hosted by singer Martina McBride, will encompass original movies, a number of acquisitions that will be making their worldwide or U.S. television premieres at 9 p.m. (ET/PT), as well as other telefilms that will air on the network for the first time, from Mondays through Saturdays and at 5 p.m. on Sundays

The service, which will present the Lifetime Original Movie Murder on Pleasant Drive on May 8, will kick off its movie marathon with Ties That Bind. The film makes its U.S. debut on Monday May 1.

Brooks anticipates that the movie gambit will yield solid results: “We expect to hold our numbers from last year,” he said.

Lifetime averaged a 1.4 household rating last May to finish sixth among basic-cable networks.