ABC Family Extends Seasonal Strategy

Apr 25, 2005  •  Post A Comment

ABC Family, which already gets a seasonal lift from its “25 Days of Christmas” and “13 Days of Halloween” programming stunts, is adding a “Sizzling Summer” to its 2006 calendar.

“Sizzling Summer” will be built around an original scripted drama series called “Falcon Beach,” about a group of young adults summering in a lakeside resort town. The series will premiere with a two-hour movie, and a total of 15 hours will be produced by Original Pictures and Insight Production Company.

For sponsors, “Sizzling Summer” will also feature a sweepstakes and the actors from the series will do “hosted wraps and really give advertisers an opportunity to leverage the summertime period,” said Tricia Wilber, senior VP

of advertising sales and promotions for ABC Cable Networks Group.

ABC Family is making other moves to own the holiday periods. This year’s “25 Days of Christmas” will include two original movies and two of the Harry Potter films. “We’re really blowing out as well ’13 Nights of Halloween,'” she said.

Overall, ABC Family is touting a year-on-year ratings increase of 24 percent in the 18-49 adult demo. The network built its programming around acquisitions of “Smallville,” “Gilmore Girls” and “Whose Line Is It Anyway.” The network also produced 12 original movies last year.

“We feel like we’ve laid a very strong foundation,” Ms. Wilber said. Now, under new president Paul Lee, the network is getting ready to launch original reality and scripted programs. “We feel that will take us to our next level of growth,” she said.

Overall, Ms. Wilber said, the cable marketplace appears strong, and with ABC Family’s ratings growth among 18-49s, “any advertiser that certainly is looking to reach that audience in a very strong environment will be looking at us very seriously.”