NY-based network airs shows in RP
By Nico Erle Ciriaco
Lifetime, the No. 1 cable network for women in the United States, formally launched its Philippine airing through an intimate media colloquy with its Int’l Executive VP Sean Cohan at the Writers Bar in Raffles Makati. The Harvard-educated executive flew to Manila specifically for that very purpose. A leading channel for women in the US, the Lifetime network is now running in the Philippines through its partner distribution, Sky Cable network.
“The Philippines is an important market so it’s a pretty big thing for us. With a 96-million populace, 15 million households watching television and over 2 million paying for cable content, it is such a critical mass. The success of our affiliate station History Channel shows the Philippines affinity for American content.
“The History Channel landed in the Top 15 channels of most viewed networks in the Philippines for the first half of 2013. TV viewing isn’t shrinking. This is evidenced by the steady rising growth in and outside the U.S.,” intimated the eloquent TV network executive, who also earned an MBA from Stanford University.
Featuring the highest quality dramas (like Unforgettable and Client List, top-billed by Jennifer Love Hewitt), Lifetime also airs made-for-TV movies like Ring of Fire, Love at the Christmas Table, Holiday Spin, Finding Mrs. Klaus, Revenge, and Liz & Dick starring Lindsay Lohan; as well as reality series that include Master Chef Australia (Season 5), The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet, Sugar Wars, Wife Swap USA, Dance Moms, and Jo Frost: Extreme Parental Guidance.
Today, Art & Entertainment (A+E) networks operates 54 branded international channels and distributes a 10,000-hour library across more than 163 countries, in 37 diverse languages, and a range of platforms.
“We operate on multiple platforms and thus move across other networks with online, Web site, mobile and tablet contents. There’s a lot of commonality in content viewing despite geographic boundaries. This is what makes worldwide viewers share a ‘geographic proximity’ with other markets.
“While universality as a theme can bring about a broad-based viewership, we use it not in a calculated way. It is not a cookie cutter or a checklist for us. We go more for ‘Is it good entertainment?’ Our key filter is if it’s different from what is shown: either we’re the first or show something wickedly different!” continued Cohan.
Since 2006, the international division has launched 33 channels, sold content to over 350 broadcasters and forged over 80 digital partnerships. During Mr. Cohan’s tenure, A+E Networks has also launched joint ventures in India, Southeast Asia, and German-speaking Europe; together with a series of HD channels across Europe, Latin America and Asia; a top factual content sales organization and successful movie distribution effort; with first undertakings in broadband, mobile and 3D.
“We feature locally and regionally relevant stories; acquiring local content across our worldwide channels. We acquire through spotting interesting material and those pitched-in to us where we refine the content.
“Piracy affects, mostly, the drama series and other scripted shows. We carefully look out for markets but we never close down because most markets are interesting to begin with. It’s what you do with these that matters.
“We are a partnership-oriented company, that’s part of our DNA. Lifetime is 50 per cent Disney and 50 per cent Hertz. We look at partnerships as marriages - and a long-term commitment at that! And like marriage, we seek those partners that complement you. These are the local and regional players with expertise, infrastructure and distribution clout,” Cohan elucidated.
In 2014, Lifetime will be working with local productions and shows with Filipino content. “We answer to the market’s desire for rich and eclectic content. I watch a lot of leisure TV myself, which I call ‘work’ like Vikings. For pleasure, I dig out Newsroom, Homeland and Pawn Stars,” shared Cohan at the close of our brief colloquium.
Lifetime reflects the full spectrum of the modern female experience, delivering top-tier, female-focused entertainment that encourages co-viewing. For more information, simply visit their Web site www.LifeTimeAsia.com.