JUNE 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.
JUNE 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / June 2010 vs. June 2009 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
Compared to June 2009, Lifetime's overall primetime averages were down. Share fell flat and delivery was down -1%. Women 18-49 were also down -13% in delivery overall. However, Monday and Sunday nights were the exception this month. No doubt due to new episodes of ARMY WIVES and a new season of DROP DEAD DIVA to kick off and reclaim the success of Sunday nights. The PRIME MOVIE was up +9% share, and ARMY WIVES was up +71% from one year ago.
Lifetime's primetime monthly average for ratings, share and demo delivery were up substantially this month compared to last month. Overall share was up +40% and delivery was up +39%, respectively. REBA came back into the schedule this month as the lead-in to primetime movies, as GREY'S ANATOMY trickled out. GREY'S ANATOMY fell flat this month, and it was clear that REBA brought the female demos back up. Prime MOVIES were up a whopping +71% share this month. A mix of solid theatricals and MOW's were just the right blend to bring back the ratings. The Saturday and Sunday prime MOVIES were up this month as well overall, and in key demos.
ARMY WIVES season #4 was up +20% share this month, and had a great lead-in as the second season of DROP DEAD DIVA premiered on June 6th. The season premiere went up against strong cable and broadcast competition in its second season debut. DIVA recorded double digit growth across key demos, and the season #2 premiere was up +11% in total viewers as compared to the season one premiere. In addition to Paul Abdul who guest stars, other Hollywood celebrity women who are scheduled for season #2 include: Cybill Shepherd, Rosie O'Donnell, Vivica A. Fox, Sharon Lawrence, Ricki Lake, Nancy Grace, Leelee Sobieski and Natasha Henstridge, among others. 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.