JULY 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.
JULY 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / July 2010 vs. July 2009 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Compared to July 2009, Lifetime's overall primetime averages were down. Both share and delivery were down -7% and -6%, respectively. Women 18-49 were also down -2% in delivery overall. However, Monday and Friday nights were the exception this month. No doubt due to a new Lifetime original movie. The PRIME MOVIE was up +4% in delivery, ARMY WIVES was up +76% and DROP DEAD DIVA was up +50% from one year ago.
Lifetime's primetime monthly average for ratings, share and demo delivery were on par this month compared to last month. Overall share fell flat and delivery was down -4%, respectively. REBA continued this month as the lead-in to primetime movies. REBA was up +10% share overall, and up +23% with Women 18-49 share. Clearly REBA brings the female demos back up. Prime MOVIES were up +8% share this month. A mix of solid theatricals and MOW's were just the right blend to bring back the ratings. The Saturday MOVIE was up +17% overall, and in all key demos.
This month, Lifetime is back in the movie business game again. We are happy to report that their new original Lifetime movie The Client List starring Jennifer Love Hewitt was a huge success for the channel. The Monday night premiere about a housewife turned prostitute hooked Lifetime the second-largest telefilm delivery of 2010 among key demos. The Client List ranks as this year's second most-watched original movie premiere on cable, behind only the January 23rd debut of Lifetime's The Pregnancy Pact among females 18-34, 18-49, 25-54, and adults 18-49 and 25-54 (Lifetime press)
ARMY WIVES and DROP DEAD DIVA were next in line as the two highest rated series this month on the network even though numbers were down from last month's premiere. Sunday night programming has traditionally been some of the strongest competition between the broadcast and cable networks. Lifetime seems to be back on its way to becoming more contemporary and competitive. Once the highest rated female targeted cable network out there, it already looks like they are inching their way back.
CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:
Nancy Dubuc, Lifetime's new GM has every intention of bringing back the brand to number one in the ratings - lots of research and investing in originals. Women are the biggest consumer group in the country, and the network has built a brand reaching the average woman.
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.