Lifetime Entertainment Services
|Limited liability company|
|Predecessor||Hearst-ABC Video Services
Cable Health Network
|Headquarters||New York City, USA|
|Services||Cable Television Networks
On-Line Information Services
(Hearst Communications (50%) & The Walt Disney Company (50%))
Lifetime Entertainment Services (LES) is an American entertainment industry company, whose media properties are focused on women. Lifetime Entertainment Services is a subsidiary of A&E Networks, a joint venture of Hearst Communications (50%) and The Walt Disney Company (50%).
Hearst-ABC Video Services
ABC and the Hearst Corporation in January 1981 formed a joint venture, Hearst/ABC Video Services (HAVS), to provide programming to Alpha Repertory Television Service and launch BETA, a women's cable service, later that year. Beta was supposed to operate four hours a day and be supported by advertising. HAVS instead launched the service under the name Daytime in March 1982.
Cable Health Network
Cable Health Network was a 24-hour cable channel launched by Viacom with health-related programming in June 1982. In November 1983, Cable Health Network channel was renamed Lifetime Medical Television.
In June 1983, Hearst-ABC Video Services and Viacom International agreed that each has an equal share for ABC, Hearst and Viacom held by Hearst-ABC Video Services and Cable Health Network in the joint venture, Hearst/ABC-Viacom Entertainment Services, containing the merged Daytime and Lifetime Medical Television satellite channel.
Hearst/ABC-Viacom Entertainment Services
Lifetime committed $25 million to produce talk show programming, but very little worked with the audience. So by the end of 1985, Lifetime was $16 million in debt. Lifetime added more original programming to diversify its audience while programming a medical block on Sunday with all the medical talk shows which attracted pharmaceutical advertisers bringing in 25% of the network's revenue. By 1986, the talk shows were canceled and the company was $36 million in debt.
Lifetime instead refocused its programming towards women in 1987 and acquired second run syndicated programming and off-network shows.
The company built the Lifetime Astoria Studios in Queens, New York, allowing the production of additional original programming. It was announced in 1990 that Lifetime would produce 15 originale telefilms targeting the female audience for the next three years. Also, HAVES purchased exclusive rights to two movie packages before the packages were syndication. The series of original movies had boosted Lifetime TV's rating with ratings three time the acquired movies. The broadcast networks were thus interest in Lifetime movies.
In June 1990, HAVES launched Healthlink Television, which was to be provided along with the equipment to doctors' offices. In October, HAVES reorganized the company to have 5 group vice presidents run the company so the CEO/president can focus on new programming acquisition and startup of new programming ventures plus to develop growth strategies.
HAVES continued acquiring for Lifetime films and off-network rights in 1991. HAVES agreed to sell Healthlink TV to Whittle Communications in September 1991. In 1992, HAVES had ABC News produce a two-hour political special for Lifetime while increasing its original programming budget by 50% between 1992 & 1993.
Lifetime Medical Television ended in July 1993.
Lifetime Entertainment Services
Viacom sold its stake in April 1994 to Hearst and Cap Cities/ABC becoming at some point Lifetime Entertainment Services (LES). For 1996, LES committed $100 million towards original programming. In 1996, the channel's website was launched, Lifetimetv.com. With its recent involvement in sponsoring and programming women sports, the company started a sports division. Lifetime in fall 1998 spins off a new cable channel, Lifetime Movie Network.
In November 1998, it was announced that CEO Douglas McCormick's contract would not be renewed when it was up at the end of the year.Although Lifetime staff members reportedly were "dumbfounded" because the network had been so financially successful during McCormick's tenure, board members wanted someone who would "bring more vision" to the company. Board members reportedly were so insistent upon hiring a woman to replace McCormick that at one point during negotiations when his contract was about to expire, McCormick threatened to bring a sex-discrimination lawsuit against them, but decided against it.
In 1999, LES started up its own in house production unit. In 2001, LES launched another spin off channel, Lifetime Real Women and published its first Lifetime imprint book. The company purchased a 4.6% equity stake in Women.com Networks Inc. in September 2000.
In April 2004, Lifetime launched Lifetime Radio for Women, a daily nationally syndicated four-hour morning show mixing adult contemporary music, live caller interaction, celebrity guests and lively discussions about the topics relating to women. In partnership with Jones Radio Networks, the service aired Monday to Friday from 5 to 9 a.m. or 6 to 10 a.m., depending on the market.
On August 27, 2009, as part of a corporate restructuring A&E Television Networks (another subsidiary of ABC and Hearst that handled cable networks) acquired Lifetime Entertainment Services. Nancy Dubuc became Lifetime's president and general manager in April 2010.
- Lifetime Movies (launched in 1998)
- Lifetime Real Women (launched in 2001)
- Lifetime Movie Club
- Lifetime Radio for Women (launched in April 2004)
- Lifetime Press
- Lifetime Digital
- Lifetime Entertainment Services History. International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 32. St. James Press, 2000. Hosted on Funding Universe.com. Retrieved on December 4, 2013.
- "ABC and Hearst Set Up Women's Cable TV; ABC and Hearst Set Up Cable TV Unit for Women". New York Times. January 30, 1981. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
- (June 15, 1983) Hearst-ABC, Viacom in Pact. New York Times.
- (October 1, 1990) "Lifetime parent restructures to focus on expansion. (Hearst/ABC-Viacom Services)." Multichannel News. HighBeam Research. Accessed on December 9, 2013.
- (September 16, 1991) Whittle Deal For Healthlink. New York Times (The Associated Press).
- Katz, Richard. "McCormick Exits as Lifetime Prexy." Variety, November 29, 1998. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
- Hofmeister, Sallie. "Lifetime Expected to Name Its First Female CEO." Los Angeles Times, February 15, 1999. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
- (September 13, 2000) Lifetime Buys Women.com Stake. (Reuters). Accessed on December 9, 2013.
- Betty Cohen Named President and CEO of Lifetime Entertainment Services, Disney.com, March 31, 2005.
- A&E Acquires Lifetime, Variety.com, August 27, 2009
- A&E Networks, Lifetime Merger Completed, Broadcasting & Cable, August 27, 2009
- Lifetime Television Gets a New Chief Who Plans to Make Changes, Los Angeles Times, April 28, 2010.
- Kenneally, Tim. (April 27, 2011) Demi Moore Strikes Multi-Project Deal With Lifetime. The Wrap.com.
- Company Overview of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC. Businessweek.com.