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Lifetime Analysis


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.

Historically a network rooted in scripted programming, Lifetime has struck a balance between traditional dramas and spunky reality shows.  Lifetime parlayed the success of PROJECT RUNWAY into slate of unscripted programming to complement established hits such as ARMY WIVES and, more recently, THE CLIENT LIST.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / November 2012 vs. November 2011  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

Lifetime was unable to keep up its momentum following an impressive October. The network experienced a significant drop (19% among women 25 – 54) compared to last month but did improve by 30% from last year in the same demographic.

For Lifetime, November was all about the movies – particularly Liz & Dick. The much-publicized biopic based on Elizabeth Taylor’s life delivered disappointing ratings considering the level of press coverage preceding the premiere.

Though Liz (which stars Lindsay Lohan) was Lifetime’s highest rated telecast of the month, it failed to measure up to other Lifetime originals that aired over the past year.

Liz’s ratings would have been very satisfactory for an original movie that wasn’t so heavily marketed. The movies prove to be the fourth most watched Lifetime film of the year. One of the movies that beat Liz out was October’s highly successful Steel Magnolias.

Despite the underwhelming reaction to Liz, the film was head and shoulders above the next best thing. Following Liz, the next seven most popular telecasts were all films. While films are a staple of Lifetime’s schedule, it is unusual for movies to have such dominance in the ratings.

This irregularity can be attributed to the Christmas season. With the holidays comes a demand for holiday-themed programming – something Lifetime delivers in spades. There were a total of 11 Christmas related films in Lifetime’s top 20 telecasts of the month.

Though there was a predominance of Christmas-themed films on the schedule, the most poplar movie (following Liz) was The Eleventh Victim. Victim, a suspense thriller, was well received by women 25 - 54.

The second season of PROJECT RUNWAY: ALL STARS had a fair month in comparison to other Lifetime programming but was down 17% compared to last month.

Fellow acquired shows HOARDERS and BETTY WHITE’S OFF THEIR ROCKERS ended up in the middle of the pack. Both shows had equal ratings among 18 – 49 and 25 – 54 ratings.

After a disappointing start last month, MY LIFE IS A LIFETIME MOVIE was able to make some positive strides this month. The new program was up 11% and 25% among women 18 – 49 and 25 – 54 respectively.

HOUSTON’S ON OUR OWN also had an underwhelming month. The reality show took a ratings hit in November it could ill-afford.