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In this era of “Peak TV,” where over a record 500 original scripted series are hovering for eyeballs at some point this season, content is king. It always has been, it always will be, and it has never been as imperative as it is now. For any outlet, a comprehensive theme and the appropriate shows to program around it is key.
Of course, tapping into a subject matter that works in this particularly cluttered environment is no easy feat. “Sensationalism sells; it’s an easy ticket to potentially attract immediate attention,” noted Robert Russo, President and CEO of RNR Media Consulting. “But in these often tumultuous times, I am also seeing a positive shift to more family-friendly programming. I think people are just plain tired of seeing shows that are sexually graphic and overly violent in nature.”
“The advertisers go where the audiences are, and I do believe consuming content at present, no matter how you choose to do it, is leaning toward the type of product that families can watch together,” added media analyst Brad Adgate. “For an advertiser, that is a great incentive.”
With Easter on Sunday, April 1st, any outlet of a family-friendly nature is likely to acknowledge it. And one network, in particular, that celebrates Easter is UP TV, which does so with a mixture of stories about the holiday and more inspirational and contemporary tales.
With the the brand promise of “We Get Family,” UP is devoted to providing feel-good entertainment and celebrating the big and memorable moments that families share. Holidays, of course, are always a great opportunity to bring these family units together.
On the Easter Menu at UP
Debuting on UP on Sunday, March 25 at 7 p.m. ET is the cable premiere movie “Risen,” which follows the epic Biblical story of the Resurrection, as told through the eyes of a non-believer, Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), a powerful Roman Military Tribune, and his aide Lucius (Tom Felton). The two are tasked with solving the mystery of what happened to Jesus in the weeks following the crucifixion, in order to disprove the rumors of a risen Messiah and prevent an uprising in Jerusalem.
“Risen” airs out of four inspirational movies beginning at 10 a.m. ET that day (“Heaven is For Real,” “Noah’s Ark,” “Judas” and “Son of God”), and into “The Passion of the Christ” at 9 p.m. ET.
“Through the course of the week heading to Easter at UP you are working your way through some of the more traditional Biblical stories to the more uplifting tales focusing on rebirth and affirmation of faith,” explained Amy Winter, EVP and General Manager at UP. “By the time Easter day comes around people are ready to celebrate, and this year we are particularly excited about a comedy movie we’ll be airing called ‘Mom’s Night Out.’”
“Mom’s Night Out,” starring Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton and Trace Adkins, is described as a true-to-life family comedy that celebrates the beautiful mess called parenting.
“I think we have really packaged that week with traditional fare, inspirational and contemporary movies, and then a fun celebration on Easter Sunday,” added Winter. “And one week after ‘Mom’s Night Out’ we are kicking off a brand new night of original content centered around life’s biggest moments. The first two series out of the gate are shows themed to becoming a Mom or a Dad.”
“Expecting” and “One Born Every Minute”
“Expecting,” the first of these two shows on UP, is shot without camera crews or producers and it follows the paths of young couples, along with their families and friends, experiencing the journey of parenthood. It returns Friday, April 6 at 9 p.m. ET.
“You are there for the emotional roller-coaster as these couples record their journeys themselves,” said Winter. “This is a truly intimate look at the path to parenthood.”
Leading out of “Expecting” is “One Born Every Minute” in the Friday 10 p.m. ET hour, which focuses on life at a maternity unit, from the perspective of the parents-to-be and the maternity ward staff.
On Thursday, April 5, the night before “Expecting” and “One Born Every Minute” debut, UP celebrates another milestone – the 100th episode of its signature docuseries, “Bringing Up Bates.” This season has followed the pregnancies of two Bates daughters, Alyssa and Erin, and the upcoming wedding of daughter Tori.
“We will be on the air live within the breaks of this 100th episode celebration with the Bates family talking about their experiences during the first seven seasons,” noted Winter.
Upcoming on UP TV This Summer
Segueing from births to weddings, UP will feature two unscripted series themed to pending nuptials…“Our Wedding Story,” which focuses on telling a love story from start to finish; and “Crazy Beautiful Weddings,” which follows wedding planner Lynzie Kent.
“There are these moments that you anticipate throughout your family life, which is what we look for here at UP,” explained Winter. “If there is something that you are expecting, something that you plan, or a day you are waiting for your entire life, that is fodder for us to take a look at. And there are other things that we look at in our life’s biggest moments theme, like buying your first house or renovating your home. There are many routes to maneuver, and this is our unique way to tell the stories of family life and share the most rewarding and compelling moments of them. All are done within the lens of what is meaningful to families.”
UP will also feature a potpourri of theatricals in April in the same vein of “Mom’s Night Out” that pick up in the “Life’s Biggest Moments” lens, including “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” “Nine Months” and the “Look’s Who’s Talking” franchise.
With opening month ratings on UP in 2018…pun intended…on the upside (total day audience is up nine percent year-to-date versus one year earlier, according to Nielsen*), brand safety remains the key ingredient at this feel-good, inspirational network.
”We know exactly who we are, and we know exactly who our target audience is, which is an audience that we call ‘family in mind,’ and we feel confident that our viewers are comfortable with the content they are getting,” noted Winter. “I think we are unique in the TV landscape because our content mix focuses on feel-good entertainment that is designed to appeal to an adult, but the entire family can come around and watch together.”
”For an advertiser targeting families, the inherent advantage of a network like UP is the positive content,” noted Robert Russo. “It feels safe, it feels familiar, and it is the type of platform that is on the rise, particularly in today’s society. This is a good trend, and one that can break through the clutter.”
“UP, at present, is tapping into a formula that works,” added Brad Adgate. “And the focus on these life moments only adds to who they are, what they do, and why they bring great value to the audience and any brand.”
*Source: Nielsen, L3, UP Total day, HH (000), (1/1-3/4/18) vs (12/26/16 -2/26/17)