CynopsisMedia Presents: Summer Lifestyle Special Report
by Cathy Applefeld Olson
Summer Lifestyle Special Report
Whether it’s summer in the city or a holiday in the sun, the forecast is bright for lifestyle networks that embrace the relaxed months as a way both to bolster existing brands and launch new programming.
The season is heating up more than ever this year, as what traditionally was a quarter heavy on repeats from the broadcast sector and many cable networks has evolved into a premiere-filled time of year with myriad viewing options for audiences.
“I don’t know if we look at the difference between broadcast and cable in the summer being as significant as we used to,” Neil Vendetti, president of investments at agency Zenith USA, tells Cynopsis. “When it was primetime repeats against big cable dramas, strategically we made a little bit of a shift there. But the fact is that cable and broadcast are programming original shows year-round, and broadcast’s strategic shift to reality in summer makes for more of an opportunity to land a consistent presence for advertisers.”
“The rules of the game have changed a lot. The way broadcasters used to be was so pervasive and rates were so high, it was easier to compete in summer,” notes Bill Abbott, president/CEO of Crown Media Family Networks. “Now it’s a much more level playing field. The [new] audience we pick up is more available in terms of not being as busy in everyday life; our growth in summer comes from our viewers having more time and ability to watch more TV.”
Whether they’re riding a wave of decreased competition in their specific category or increased potential viewership, lifestyle-focused nets of all ilks – from Scripps Networks Interactive’s seasonal fare to Outdoor Sportsman Group’s hunting and fishing-heavy lineup – are superserving their specific audiences, who’ve come to expect a good reason for ducking indoors and settling in front of a screen.
“We really do focus a lot on the summer,” says Kathleen Finch, Scripps chief programming, content and brand officer. “We see it as a great sampling opportunity, and a great fit for our networks. Obviously Travel Channel and summer go hand in hand, but we do a lot of entertaining, a lot of backyard design work, a lot of things to celebrate the season. When you think about when lifestyle is at its peak, it’s during the summer. And we are all about lifestyle.”
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