| Cynopsis Media presents:
Demographic Viewing Patterns
Good morning. It's Monday, November 15, 2010, and this is the third installment of our special five-part series on Demographic Viewing Patterns. Evaluated by category, each Special E-Report will explore the latest research on viewing patterns and evolving media preferences of specific demographic groups. Cynopsis Media will also look at the newest trends networks and ad agency executives are using to target and reach each of these demographic categories. As always with any special edition, we hope you find the information relevant, interesting and informative, and encourage your feedback.
by Daisy Whitney
While television viewing has increased for all demographic groups compared to a few years ago, the men of America watch television the least. When they do turn on the tube, they usually tune first to sports or news. That's great if you're a sports or news network, but presents challenges if your schedule is filled with entertainment. However, savvy programmers and smart marketers are taking extra care with this demo to make sure the shows proffered up will attract the attention of men, especially the young ones who also rely on the web, phones and gaming consoles for their entertainment needs.
Television, though, remains strong. According to MRI, about 66% of men 18+ watch cable TV in any given week, and 17% visit a TV network or show web site. Networks that cater primarily to men from ESPN to History to IFC to G4, have honed in on just the right touch that their audiences and advertisers need. Similarly, sitcoms in syndication also do well in reaching men and advertisers have taken note.
"What we look at is our content and how with TV, print, radio, audio and the web we can reach men wherever they are," said Glenn Enoch, VP of Integrated Media Research at ESPN, which has fine-tuned a focus on multiplatform distribution to continue to reach men. "It's not a zero sum game. As we spread across platforms, we are getting sports fans to consume us on TV and in these other places."
Capturing the Multiplatform Man
Five years ago, about 28% of ESPN viewers watched ESPN on TV and also on another platform, according to a Knowledge Networks study. Now that number is 46%. What's more, those multiplatform viewers now comprise about 71% of usage for the brand, meaning the hard-core, devoted fans are interacting with ESPN across multiple venues.
ESPN conducted research with advertisers during the recent World Cup and found that its multiplatform approach isn't only beneficial to reaching consumers, it can help cement a relationship with a brand. Looking across nine of its World Cup sponsors that had multiplatform deals, ESPN found that while TV advertising was still critical to driving brand awareness, multiplatform marketing did the heavy lifting to change brand attitudes and purchase intent. "Pre-World Cup to post-World Cup, the average increase in word of mouth mention for a brand was 30%," said Barbara Singer, VP Advertiser Insight and Strategy at ESPN. "People process messages differently and we found both mobile and print were good at driving interest in a new product. Social media also lent itself to greater ad impact."
Trucking and Laughing
But the key to reaching men - or any demo for that matter - is to create content that speaks to them. History Channel has revamped its lineup over the last few years by adding shows like Pawn Stars, IRT: Deadliest Roads, Ice Road Truckers and Ax Men, and has skyrocketed up in the ratings. Last year the cable network broke into the top ten for A25-54 for the first time ever and now is a top five network for A18-49 and top three in M25-54, said Don Roberts, SVP/Corporate Research and Consumer Insight. He added that among A25-54 History has seven series that deliver at least 1.5 million viewers.
"Guys are very difficult to reach," Roberts said. "They don't watch as much TV as women and if you take sports and news out of the mix it's hard to get them to watch anything but those genres." History has found success by tapping job-related themes, as evidenced by its shows focused on truck driving and logging.
Men also like to watch sitcoms and most of those are in syndication. Many of the broadcast networks are skewing as high as 70% female in primetime. So where are the men? They're watching syndicated sitcoms, said Mitch Burg, President of the Syndicated Network Television Association. Shows in syndication like King of the Hill, Family Guy, South Park, Scrubs and The Office garner twice the percentage of male viewers as the average network show, he said. On Fridays, nine of the top ten shows watched by M18-34 are in syndication; for Mondays through Thursdays the number is four of ten. To help advertisers, SNTA has brought the idea of an exclusive integrated pod to its members and the initiative ultimately led to Dr. Pepper sponsoring classic moments from Family Guy this summer. "Young men come in and they want to laugh no matter what time they come home," Burg said.
Men also like to watch shows online or on gaming consoles, G4 has found. Still a newer and scrappier network, G4 is fighting its way up the ratings chart. In five years, its audience has grown 184%, averaging 159,000 viewers during primetime, in part from a multiplatform approach. Because the network caters to younger men - its average viewer is 38-41 - G4 has been on the forefront of reaching those men by programming across all platforms. It was one of the first networks to release podcasts on iTunes and has pushed a number of programs out on Xbox and other gaming consoles, said Neal Tiles, President of the network.
"They are consuming media on their own time so the shows need to work and you have to try to have word of mouth," he said. That can come by ensuring content is linked up across Facebook and Twitter and pushed out to gaming consoles.
Advertisers also benefit from multiplatform messaging. IFC has developed several multiplatform campaigns around its signature shows, such as The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. The show's recent premiere included partnerships with brands such as Delta, Urban Outfitters and Jones Soda that extended across TV to online, mobile, social media and theaters. The Urban Outfitters partnership in particular included online sweepstakes and in-store promotion to showcase the series.
UrbanOutfitters.com also showed trailers and behind-the-scenes footage. These targeted initiatives can make a big difference for a show and an advertisers, said Jennifer Caserta, EVP/GM for the network.
That's why a network needs to know its audience. IFC skews about 70% male and it conducted a research study this spring to better understand its male viewers - how they are early adopters and like to be first to find cool things. This insight also helps the network's sponsors because IFC has wrapped some of them into promo ads when appropriate.
Of course, young men are spending a tremendous amount of time online as evidenced by the success of the young male-centric network Break.com. With its online distribution network, Break now reaches 130 million people each month, many of them young men. "Break Media has spent years earning the trust of the young male demographic and making it our business to know them better than anyone on the web," said Keith Richman, CEO of Break. "Today we reach millions of 18-34 males on a daily basis. Not only do our viewers have access to consistently fresh content ranging from gaming and humor to travel and sports, but our advertisers are effectively reaching their intended audiences in new and highly efficient ways through our network of sites."
Later -- Daisy
Daisy Whitney for Cynopsis Media
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