Lifetime Movie Network Promo Has A Happy Ending

Advertisers from 26 major television markets will converge at the Director’s Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Aug. 7, the beneficiaries of a local sales promotion tied to the Lifetime Movie Network’s original movie, Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story.

The network will hold a red carpet screening that night, allowing local businessmen to meet and greet the stars of the film, including Judy Reyes (Scrubs), Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty) and A Martinez, as well as some of the real-life subjects of the telefilm.

The movie, which premieres on LMN on Aug. 17, is based on the abduction and recovery of Delimar Vera. The child was thought killed in a house fire when she was 10 days old, but her mother, Luz Cuevas, remained steadfast in her belief that the child had been abducted from the home by a party guest before the fire was ignited. Her refusal to believe the child had been killed cost the woman her marriage.

Six years after the tragedy, she saw a child at the party of an acquaintance that she believed to be her long-lost daughter. That sighting galvanized her into a fight to prove she was the girl’s mother.

Sue Panzer, Lifetime’s vice president of advertising sales and affiliate marketing, said the film’s heroine, and her refusal to give up on what she believed, “just spoke to us.” Lifetime’s ad inventory often sells out, she said, and with originals like this, local affiliates can point advertisers toward LMN as another channel with which to reach women, she said.

LMN has been growing its female viewership, she said, citing a 50% ratings bump in July among women ages 18 to 34. (LMN’s primetime rating among women 18-34 was a 0.3, an average of 45,000 viewers, in July 2008, up from 0.2 and 38,000 viewers in July 2007, according to Nielsen Media Research.)

Twice as many affiliate markets — 27 — signed up for this ad sales promotion as did for Lifetime’s last big effort, a campaign centered on the miniseries The Capture of the Green River Killer. LMN offered, as an internal incentive or an advertiser premium, two or three-day trips to Los Angeles. Packages included airfare, hotel, airport transfers, and a Lifetime-sponsored dinner at a hip new restaurant, as well as passes for Hollywood tour buses. All but one system chose to give the trip to local advertisers, Panzer said.

Operators including Comcast, Charter Communications, Bright House Networks, Insight Communications, Viamedia (which sells time for Verizon’s FiOS TV and other overbuilders) and Time Warner Cable were among the participating distributors.