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LMN Mines Viewers’ Attraction to Movies

Apr 26, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Lifetime Movie Network is getting the star treatment.
Now 6 years old and in more than 41 million homes, the network built on Lifetime’s made-for-cable movies is working with studios to help promote new theatrical releases and give the network additional original content.
Picking up the “Lifetime Goes Hollywood” feature that has been popular on the mother channel, LMN over the weekend planned to have Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore, stars of New Line’s “Laws of Attraction,” appear in a series of vignettes. The film opens Friday.
“The studio wins because they get to expose the movie. The viewer wins because they get to see more of these stars. And Lifetime wins-we get to have a stunt,” said Rick Haskins, executive VP and general manager, Lifetime Entertainment Services.
The stars’ appearance has been promoted extensively on LMN and Lifetime. For the promotion, Lifetime has also urged viewers to go to its Web site to enter a “dinner and diamonds” sweepstakes. Prizes include diamond pendants.
Mr. Haskins said that while the “Laws of Attraction” deal involved an advertising buy on the network by New Line, other deals are handled differently. “If we find a movie that we think will resonate with our viewers, we’ll do it,” he said. But if the movie is that attractive to LMN viewers, generally speaking, the studio would be advertising, whether or not special vignettes are produced.
Robin Seidner D’Elia, VP of national television promotions and marketing at New Line, has been putting together TV tie-ins for new releases for about five years and put together about a dozen promotions for “Laws.”
“Lifetime is just such a perfect fit for this film,” she said.
In working with networks, “We want to give them something that their viewers are going to want to see and that’s even going to drive ratings for them,” Ms. D’Elia said. “We try to make it as painless as possible for the talent and we find that it’s really successful. At times it’s more impactful than a regular TV spot.”
This marks the first time New Line has done a promotion on LMN. New Line insisted that the event be promoted on Lifetime to ensure it attracts the maximum number of eyeballs, but Ms. D’Elia said, “We believe in Lifetime Movie Network. It’s a growing network with a huge female audience.”
“We have a great relationship with Lifetime,” she added. “This is probably the biggest promotion we done with them.”
New Line is set to do another promotion with Lifetime for its upcoming film “The Notebook.”
Earlier this year, LMN did a “Lifetime Goes Hollywood” stunt for the release of the movie “Jersey Girl.” Lifetime later wound up buying a piece of the Ben Affleck film’s broadcast window. “Those were separate deals. We try to launch those movies that tend to resonate with our viewers. It just so happens that we bought it,” Mr. Haskins said.
The vignettes are shot at the studio’s expense, but the network comes up with the concept. In the case of “Laws of Attraction,” Lifetime saw the film and came up with a numbered list of the laws of attraction-such as “Flattery will get you everywhere” and “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” In the vignettes, the stars discuss their reactions to those rules.
Mr. Haskins said the studio signs off on the script and on the finished vignettes, which run as part of the network’s promo time.
Mr. Haskins said LMN aims to do one or two of the promotions each quarter, “so they still can be special to our audience.” Next in the pipeline is “Raising Helen,” which stars Kate Hudson.
Another bit of show business on LMN is a series called “Lifetime Movie Network’s Leading Men,” featuring an actor from an upcoming film. “These are hot guys that our audience likes to know more about,” Mr. Haskins said. Upcoming is Denzel Washington, star of “Man on Fire.”
Mr. Haskins declined to say how much the vignette series cost the network. And he said it is difficult to tell just how much they boost ratings because the network is expanding its distribution so fast. “We’re growing by leaps and bounds, but the ratings do tick up when we do these stunts,” he said.
So far in April, the network is up 17 percent in households, up 50 percent in viewers 18 to 34 and up 33 percent in viewers 18 to 49.