Lifetime, Group M Strike 'Live-Plus-Three' Upfront Deal

Women's Cable Net 50% Complete, CPM Hike of 7%-9%

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NEW YORK ( -- After the broadcast upfront wrapped last Friday at $9.2 billion, the cable marketplace is now up and running. Lifetime and Group M have completed the first major cable-network deal based on commercial ratings currency of live-plus-three-days-time-shifted viewing.
A strong performance by new series 'Army Wives' helped the women's cable network.
A strong performance by new series 'Army Wives' helped the women's cable network.

That follows two deals Starcom announced last week with Discovery and Nickelodeon based on minute-by-minute ratings.

Varieties of currencies
The Lifetime deal with Group M is valued by executives at more than $70 million and the network is now 50% complete with its upfront sales for Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Network and The cost-per-thousand viewer increases are said to be in the high-single-digit range of 7% to 9%.

The cable marketplace is projected by several buyers to come out flat compared to last year's total take of $6.5 billion. Cablers are expected to do deals based on a variety of currencies due to their relatively low commercial-pod retention, as reflected in Nielsen Media Research's new commercial ratings. Network groups such as MTV have gone into this year's upfront looking to do the bulk of their business on the traditional standard of average program ratings, with others being open to engagement, live and live-only metrics.

John Matluck, Lifetime's senior VP-sales, said he was surprised to see such a universal consensus on metrics from clients. "We originally thought there would be a hodge-podge of people picking what they wanted; that does not seem to be the case," he said.

Summer dramas
The Group M deal also comes on the strength of the ratings success of summer drama "Army Wives," which has regularly attracted more than 3 million viewers a week, earning a 2.8 share among women ages 18 to 49 this past Sunday. The network will add two more dramas July 15 to its Sunday night lineup: "Side Order of Life" with Marisa Coughlan and "State of Mind" with Lili Taylor, leading into "Army Wives" at 10 p.m.

"The timing couldn't be more perfect," Mr. Matluck said. "What it shows is people have confidence in what Lifetime is putting out there and what other shows we have available."
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