Upfront 2022: FETV Adds Programming, Distribution In Move To General Market

FETV Frndly TV Barney Miller
'Barney Miller' is one of the classic sitcoms on FETV (Image credit: FETV)

Family Entertainment Television’s FETV, making the transition from running mainly direct-response ads to running general market commercials, is pitching new programming and added distribution in its upfront presentations to media buyers.

Family-friendly FETV was launched in 2013 and has increased distribution to the point where it was worth subscribing to Nielsen and getting C3 commercial ratings in 2020.

Among the first general market brands to advertise on FETV are Walgreens, Amgen, SCJohnson, Prevagen, Regeneron, Salonpas, Nature Made, Bayer, Bristol Myers Squibb, Merck, CNN, ABC, Kimberly-Clark, Peloton, Paramount Network and Hood.

Now, FETV is telling advertisers it is getting additional distribution and fresher programming, headed by Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, which hits two of the network’s sweet spots as a Western with a female lead character, according to Karen Bressner, the former Viacom executive heading ad sales for FETV. Dr. Quinn will be added to the schedule in October. 

Also: Frndly TV Makes FETV the 20th Channel on Streaming Service

Bressner said FETV has recently signed distribution deals that will add 11 million homes to bring its footprint to more than 50 million by June. She couldn’t name the distributors that will be adding the network at this time, she said.

The added distribution will better position FETV against the networks it is most often compared to by media buyers, UPtv, Reelz and GAC Family. It has also helped the network increase impressions in the adults 35 to 64 demographic by 10% between third-quarter 2020 and third-quarter 2021.

Bressner said that FETV has a desirable audience that looks a lot like she does — they’re mostly women in the 35-64 age bracket with a high disposable income who are homeowners, which means they have money to spend on advertisers’ products. 

The network’s average length of tune is 34 minutes, she noted, a stat that indicates FETV viewers stick around long enough to watch the commercials.

Strong product categories for the network include home improvement, pharmaceuticals, pet care, financial and travel.

FETV’s programming consists of classic shows in three genres: dramas like Perry Mason, Mannix and Emergency!; sitcoms, including Leave It to Beaver, Bewitched, Hazel, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Real McCoys, Barney Miller and Maude; and westerns such as Rawhide, The Lone Ranger and Wagon Train.

The Westerns have brought more younger men into FETV’s audience, Bressner said.

FETV has also been having success with John Wayne movies. The network will be bringing additional movies to the network, with Perry Mason movies added in July and Gunsmoke movies coming in October.

The network has also run sponsorable stunts, with one highlighting wonderful moments from its shows sponsored by Wonderful Pistachios. 

Last October, Family Entertainment TV launched FMC, the Family Movie Channel, which is in about 10 million homes. That channel is being supported with direct-response ads for now, but the company expects it to grow. “We know that we’ll be able to bring that network to the general marketplace, so we’ll get there as quickly as we can,” Bressner said. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.