Lifetime Performance/Schedule Analysis - September 2009

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NOVEMBER 2009 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE:

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, 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.

DECEMBER 2009 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / November 2009 vs. November 2008  (% Change)

HH

M25-54

W25-54

P25-54

Monday 8-11pm

-62%

-67%

-62%

-64%

Tuesday 8-11pm

8%

-20%

-14%

-20%

Wednesday 8-11pm

-40%

-63%

-45%

-50%

Thursday 8-11pm

-48%

-29%

-48%

-43%

Friday 8-11pm

-37%

-50%

-47%

-50%

Saturday 8-11pm

-18%

-10%

-30%

-29%

Sunday 8-11pm

-24%

-22%

-21%

-21%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-32%

-38%

-39%

-38%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Compared to December 2008, Lifetime's overall primetime averages were down.  Both share and delivery were down -32%.  Women 18-49 and 25-54 delivery were also down -38% and -39%, respectively.  In fact, all key demos were down nightly with the exception of Tuesday nights. As compared to one year ago, MOVIES were down substantially as well. 

On a more positive note, Lifetime's primetime monthly average for share and demo delivery were up this month compared to last month.  Overall share and delivery were up +36%.  And with the exception of Thursday nights, every night of the week rose substantially.  PROJECT RUNWAY which was premiering on Thursday nights finished its season finale last month and was replaced with GREY'S ANATOMY leading into MOVIES.  RUNWAY premieres season #7 next month and will return to its Thursday night time slot.

RITA ROCKS finished its run on Monday nights and was not renewed for another season. RITA was actually up this month +14% in overall delivery.  Tuesday nights stack of original comedy SHERRI was up +12% in delivery and wrapped its freshman run on December 1st.

GREY'S ANATOMY the 8pm lead-in for movies was up +14% share this month.  MOVIES, which comprised of a mix of MOW'S and theatricals were up signifcantly this month overall.  The prime MOVIE was up +36% in overall share,  the Saturday and Sunday MOVIE was up +53%.  Lifetime continues to churn out original movies and acquire theatricals that have top Hollywood female talent. This month was no exception with their origianal holiday movie 12 MEN OF CHRISTMAS which premiered on Sunday, December 5th at 9pm.  Starring Tony award winner Kristen Chenoweth, there is no shortage of talent and star power for this network.  All of their movies were holiday themed, which most likely contributed to their ratings success this month.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

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.

Lifetime programming chief JoAnn Alfano is developing a slate of unscripted projects, at least one of which could premiere in conjunction with the finale to the next cycle of RUNWAY.

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.

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