JANUARY 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:
* Bold denotes programming change
Lifetime's programming strategy is now all about women having choices. Once the cable channel best known for its women in peril flicks, Lifetime has taken the dive into edgy comedies and upcoming tele-novela style melodramas. They look for reality competition shows, game shows, scripted dramas geared to 25-54 demo.
PROJECT RUNWAY was a key asset for Lifetime. A network known for movies since the beginning, now has come to expect high quality entertainment scripted shows Unscripted shows, however, hasve always been a challenge for them because it's not part of their brand expectation. So to air one of the top competition reality shows like RUNWAY on cable not only gives them a great series, but also gives them a beachhead in that space and allows them to launch new shows.
JANUARY 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / January 2010 vs. January 2009 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Compared to January 2009, Lifetime's overall primetime averages were down. Both share and delivery were down -7% and -6%, respectively. However, Women 18-49 was up +13% share and +5% in delivery overall. Thursday and Sunday nights were up in all key demos. Sunday nights were up +15% in delivery. In fact, the Sunday night MOVIE was up +20% and up +35% with Women 18-49 share. The Saturday night MOVIE was also up +24% with Women 18-49 share from one year ago.
Lifetime's primetime monthly average for share and demo delivery were down this month compared to last month. Overall share was down -7% and delivery was down -5%. However, Monday and Thursday nights were the exception this month. Monday nights were up +25% and Thursday nights were up +45% share. No doubt, due to the premiere of season #7 of the ever popular PROJECT RUNWAY which premiered on Thursday, January 14th at 10pm. RUNWAY got off to a solid start this month. There was also a special that proceeded the premiere at 11pm MODELS OF THE RUNWAY. RUNWAY's finale last season barely surpassed its record breaking opening episode but Lifetime isn't exactly crushed, especially with the show's performance among women. Since only a couple of episodes have aired this month, the real question will be whether or not the channel can make the show relevant and engaging again on the channel as it was on Bravo.
Another highlight for the Monday was the premiere of Lifetime original movie PREGNANCY PACT on Saturday, January 23rd. PREGNANCY PACT starred Camyrn Mnheim, Nancy Travis and Thora Birch - all names that are very familiar to the Lifetime viewer. The movie generated strong ratings for its premiere and became the number one rated movie in over 10 years for the cabler among Women 18-34. It was also the most watched Lifetime Original Movie premeire in Lifetime's 26 year history among Women 18-34, Women 18-49, Adults 18-34 and Adults 18-49. The film ranked as the 4th highest movie among Women 18-49 in Lifetime's history. (Lifetime press) Its impressive performance triggered an encore performance on Thursday, January 28th from 7-9pm, leading into PROJECT RUNWAY. Based on the film's strong performance during its debut, the controversial issue of teen pregnancy has clearly hit a nerve with the public. The film's strong performance made it the number one rated and most watched program for the week of January 18th among Women 18-49.
GREY'S ANATOMY continued this month as the 8pm lead-in for the prime MOVIES. The prime MOVIE, which comprised of a mix of MOW'S and theatricals were up +18% with Women 18-49 share. The Saturday and Sunday prime MOVIE were down overall, but up with Women 18-49 in the demos. Lifetime continues to churn out original movies and acquire theatricals that have top Hollywood female talent. Lifetime has always been a leader in the original movie business, the question will be whether or not their original series will be able to sustain another season, and additional programming nights.
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
In the network's first creative package of this kind, Lifetime is serving up a customized sponsorship for Outback in support of the restaurant chain's "15 meals for under $15" campaign and its movie nights. The "Live Adventurous, Love Adventurous" vignettes highlight the custom, co-branded package in which Outback will sponsor Lifetime's airing of theatricals. Lifetime along with other cable networks are doing more and more on-air sponsorships with customized content for both brands.
Lifetime's long-term strategy is to evolve the Lifetime brand to a more contemporary, energetic, relevant place. Lifetime exec Wong indicated that PROJECT RUNWAY was "exactly the shot in the arm" for this kind of programming. However, the declining ratings of RUNWAY has some people wondering. However the decision to air the show against the heart of the broadcasters' fall launches has made it tougher to compete. Lifetime has also commented that they cannot judge the series on a short-term basis. RUNWAY will be a long-term strategic play for them. Reality in general is not part of the brand expectation for Lifetime. Every time they tried to launch a reality show in the past, it was an island on the schedule.
A network mainly known for movies and a brand that has been associated with it forever has now branched out to new new original series not onl scripted but now unscripted which has always been a challenge for them in the past. Unscripted programming will bring Lifetime into a new arena and will be a challenge for them to explore.
They are also looking for more series like DIVA, shows that have a sense of humor, and programming fare that has a lighter, escapist attitude.
At Lifetime's recent upfront for 2009-2010, they have put together a slate of development for movies, scripted and unscripted series that reflects their commitment to growing and evolving the Lifetime brand. Lifetime will ramp up their drama development, comedy and original movies, by producing 12 new original movies for next year.
Lifetime's mission, according to the network's tag line is to "celebrate, entertain and support women." JoAnn Alfano, the network's executive vice president of entertainment, said Lifetime Networks' task is serve a "broad palette" of women with a robust slate of new scripted and unscripted programming and tent-pole movie events on Lifetime and the Lifetime Movie Network. At Lifetime, with a lot of original programming and varied constituencies to serve, the trick is to remain the "destination for women" while bringing new, younger viewers into the tent.
Lifetime's programming strategy is now all about women having choices. To be able to lose themselves in sitcoms or find themselves via dramas. It's now all about women being portrayed as women whom they can connect with. Once the cable channel best known for its women in peril flicks, Lifetime has taken the dive into edgy comedies and upcoming tele-novela style melodramas. They look for reality competition shows, game shows, scripted dramas geared to 25-54 demo; new artists, writers, hosts, reality & scripted show pitches and digital/new media content. They are also looking for more series like DIVA, shows that have a sense of humor, and programming fare that has a lighter, escapist attitude.