04/12/23: Swimming Against the Tide with Continued Growth


Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Wednesday April 12, 2023

FETV’s Growing Family

By Cathy Applefeld Olson

FETV is experiencing a growth spurt, and it’s inviting advertisers to join in the momentum.

The independent network that programs timeless television series and movies is heading into this year’s Upfront with a narrative that’s as golden as its content: A wave of audience growth and advertiser partnerships, distribution in more than 50 million households and the addition of a new Family member—ad-supported classic movie destination FMC.

Its 2023 tagline “Grow With Us” resonates across all metrics. The network’s total audience escalated by nearly 40 percent in primetime from Q4 2020 to Q4 2022, with A25-54 impressions skyrocketing by 73 percent during the same period. Additionally, FETV ranked No. 4 among all ad-supported cable entertainment networks in total day and primetime with year-over-year household growth. Brands are tuning in, too. The network welcomed more than 180 new advertisers this past year, including a 57 percent rise in new Upfront partners.

“We are continuing to grow while others in our competitive set are losing ground,” says Michael DuPont, EVP of ad sales. “And advertisers have really taken note of the FETV audience as a valuable addition to a media mix given our growth and efficiencies.”

Thanks to recent carriage deals with Comcast, Optimum and Philo, FETV is now available in more than 50 million households, with more distribution growth on the way. “With upcoming launch announcements from both traditional and virtual providers, we will be expanding both networks this year,” says Cara Conte, SVP of affiliate sales.


Purposefully Programmed
At the heart of FETV’s trajectory is its programming schedule—a carefully curated mix of beloved classics delivered with consistency, minimal repeats and new additions the team continually culls based on feedback from viewers. Emergency joined the schedule last year, Adam-12 launched in April, and Quincy, M.E. and a soon-to-be-announced Western are on tap to debut in the fall.

“These are the shows that resonate and are the common history for our audience,” says Jaclyn Rann Cohen, EVP of content acquisitions and strategy. “It’s content they haven’t seen in a while—characters and stories they know and love, like old friends. We’re continuing to bring in new titles without being too disruptive to our current schedule.”

The mindful lineup—which also includes Perry Mason, Bewitched and Mannix—has translated into the rise of a rare destination network in an era of title-driven viewing. The FETV audience consistently shows up and when they do, they hang around. FETV ranks No. 1 with average length of tune in primetime, according to Nielsen, clocking in at 35 minutes with total day length of tune rising to 39 minutes.

Audience Attraction
Not only are viewers tuning in to FETV, but advertisers are tuning into FETV viewers—a demographic that comprises 64 percent women and 36 percent men, 88 percent of whom are homeowners and 27 percent of whom have a household income greater than $75,000.

The FETV audience—which also has low duplication against other networks in its category including INSP, Great American Family and UPtv—also scores high marks on the Wealth/Disposable Income Index, as sourced by NTI/MRI Simmons Fusion for Q4 2022, ranking No. 1 for Adults 35-64 among ad-supported entertainment networks.


Pass the Popcorn
As well as its own growth trajectory, FETV now has an ad-supported sibling network that’s also stepping into the spotlight. Launched in October 2021, Family Movie Classics (FMC) is on track to reach the 25 million-subscriber mark in Q2 of this year with its library of classic, family-friendly marquee titles—think Westerns and big-name stars like John Wayne, Gregory Peck and Rita Hayworth—mined from studio libraries and arranged in themed blocks.

“It’s about really understanding what this golden age of American film was and making sure we’re representing in key genres,” says Cohen. “We’re organizing them in ways that are genre celebrations and are designed to be environments for advertisers and brands to partner.”

By design, FMC is a complement to FETV. For example, while FETV airs some big western films, FMC offers a much deeper dive and airs daily western theatrical titles. It also has its own scheduling cadence such as the Friday Double Feature, a model Cohen says harkens back to the early days of the movie theater industry.

The model is attracting an audience that skews slightly younger than FETV. A full 76 percent of FMC viewers are in the A25-54 demo, while 52 percent are A35-64. The median household income of viewers is $103,000.

“This network is not even two years old. To launch a network in this environment and put it on this growth trajectory is a phenomenal achievement,” says DuPont. “And it’s an exciting opportunity for advertisers to get on board because they’ve seen what we’ve been able to do with FETV, how we steward their business and help make sure we are delivering against their buys… and they are really intrigued because FMC is the only classic movie TV network that is ad-supported.”


Giving Advertisers What They Want
With more than 180 new advertisers in the Family since last year, FETV and FMC are looking to expand their roster of brand partners even further in categories including CPG, pharmaceutical, insurance, financial and travel.

“We are well-positioned to have really big ideas,” Cohen says. “Because of our size and the way we are set up we are open to any and all conversations. We’re not super layered as an organization so we’re able to vet ideas and be creative and get back to clients quickly.”

The result can be as standard as a billboard leading into a marathon or as custom as sponsorship of a curated block, in-show pop-ups, screen scrolls or immersion into a stunt like A Very Ward Father’s Day Leave It to Beaver promo or Perry Mason Movie “Summer of Suspense.”

In May, FETV will debut its first Watch and Win promo that ties its linear network and social media presence. Viewers who correctly answer trivia questions will get a moment in the spotlight with their names scrolling on screen. “That’s available for sponsorship,” Cohen says. We would love to have partners join in that fun.”

Advertises appear to be joining the celebration. According to DuPont, “Because of our advertiser-friendly programming environment we are seeing more advertisers across more categories coming on board. And, we are delivering against our media buys—which is not common in today’s cable landscape.”

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Editorial Director

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Robbie Caploe
VP/Group Publisher

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