With the advent of the OTT networks, viewers have an entirely new set of options to access their favorite programming. With advent of non-network studios such as Amazon and Netflix, now and producing content, viewers have more choices for high-level programming than ever before. US cable TV subscribers are cutting their cords at an increasing rate. Yes, cable TV has been declared dead – or at least mostly dead – for some time now.
Amidst an industry that is doing a lot of nail-biting right now, one network has decided to double down on basic, block & tackle customer engagement tactics in hopes of stemming the tide. And those tactics look an awful lot like the building blocks from a well-designed loyalty program.
Lifetime Network, a subsidiary of A+E Networks, focuses on programming that is geared toward, and prominently features, women. Known for their made-for-TV movies, the network has an easily-identifiable market and has been successfully catering to them for the past twenty years. But the times, as they say, they are a-changin’ – and so too, apparently, is Lifetime.
Launched within the past several months, the program, entitled “Lifetime Movies Inner Circle” is squarely focused on building audience and already has some 10,000 active members.
The program relies heavily on gamification tactics and giveaways to deepen involvement with their programming. New members are given sign-up gifts as a way to encourage participation and accumulation of points. There are tiered levels of rewards that have been designed to meet the demographic preferences of their audience and to draw them deeper into the story lines and characters on the network.
Immediately upon signup, users are taken to a landing page which presents, among other things, a poll asking “What’s the best way to get revenge in a Lifetime movie?” with answer choices such as blackmail, poison, kidnap or murder. It’s clear that Lifetime knows who they are and are prepared to have fun at their own expense.
Other activities include an online game called “Escape the Board” where users can play along each Sunday night for the chance to win that week's prize, plus be entered to win a free summer escape to the Caribbean.
For the moment Lifetime is only promoting Inner Circle to build audience for their live premiers and not for re-runs although, depending on the success of this effort, rolling it out for their broader programming is still a possibility.