Lifetime Analysis - October 2010

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OCTOBER 2010 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

* Bold denotes programming change

SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

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, have always been a challenge for them because it's not part of their brand expectation.  RUNWAY a top competition show enabled them to branch out and acquire new reality shows and use RUNWAY as a launching pad for new programs.

OCTOBER 2010 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / October 2010 vs. October 2009  (% Change)

HH

M25-54

W25-54

P25-54

Monday 8-11pm

33%

0%

38%

17%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-17%

0%

-14%

0%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-22%

-20%

0%

0%

Thursday 8-11pm

53%

57%

45%

47%

Friday 8-11pm

33%

33%

10%

33%

Saturday 8-11pm

0%

0%

6%

9%

Sunday 8-11pm

-41%

-50%

-46%

-47%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

0%

0%

0%

0%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Compared to October 2009, Lifetime's overall primetime averages were down.  Share fell flat and delivery was down -5%, respectively.  Women 18-49 were down as well, but interestingly Men 18-49 share was up +25%.  Overall delivery was up significantly for Monday, Thursday and Friday nights.  WIFE SWAP was up +25% with Women 25-54 share, PROJECT RUNWAY was up +146%, and prime MOVIES were up +14% with Women 18-49 share from one year ago.

Lifetime's primetime monthly average for ratings, share and demo delivery were down this month compared to last month.  Overall share was down -15% and delivery was down -16%, respectively.  Halfway through last month's primetime schedule, REBA was the solid lead-in choice to the primetime MOVIE.  It was then replaced by HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER.  This month, the tables reversed, and REBA returned to its original line-up, and HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights were taken out.  Maybe not such a wise scheduling move since REBA was down -27% share this month overall.  THE ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRSTINE, a CBS off-network acquisition was quickly taken off the schedule on Monday nights this month after only one airing.  Looks like Lifetime went back to their strategy of airing original/comedy movies on Monday nights instead of comedy series.   Tuesday nights were REBA and a double stack of WIFE SWAP.  WIFE SWAP was up +25% share this month.

Prime MOVIES were down -31% in overall delivery, and were nothing more than repeats that contained a mix of theatricals and MOW's.  PROJECT RUNWAY fell flat this month and ON THE ROAD WITH AUSTIN & SANTINO was also down this month in all key demos. 

The weekend block consisted of all MOVIES.  Both the Saturday and Sunday MOVIE were down.   Lifetime did a lot of juggling this month with their primetime schedule, and not for the better.  Ratings were generally down, reruns of movies, and no new premieres or specials to report on.  A couple of months back it seemed that the tide was changing at this network as new life was pumped back into it.  Hopefully with an aggressive programming slate for 2011 things will change around a bit for the future.  Once the highest rated female targeted cable network out there, Lifetime is in desperate need of changing their position and create a more contemporary and coompetitive edge to compete in today's already crowded cable television environment.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

Lifetime is aggressively expanding its drama series development plate bringing scripted strategy to the forefront.  Lifetime intends on ordering additional pilots and scripted series programs.

Production is underway for three Lifetime drama pilots: Against the Wall, Exit 19 and an untitled Josh Berman project starring Sherry Stringfield and Jamie-Lynn Sigler. Lifetime also has six non-scripted shows in the works and is considering original programming for daytime as well.

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 addition, Lifetime will not back away from unscripted programming as 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.

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