Television for Women vs Television with Women in Mind

For twelve years we have been trying to help companies gain women’s loyalty by truly understanding them and creating products and services that truly fit their needs. Not once have we recommended to a client that they build a product or service that is exclusively FOR women. That kind of segregation does not boost bottom lines.

We strongly believe that by listening to women you get human solutions not pink ones that are made just for her. When Westin listened to women talk about what they wanted from a hotel room the Heavenly Bed (and its Heavenly cousins) was born. They never had to say that their hotel aimed to be the favorite of women, especially business travelers, but making changes like the clean, fuzzy bed, the curved shower rod and the signature scent showed that the brand had women in mind. When Toyata’s Sienna listened to mothers talk about their mini wagons the famously successful Swagger Wagon viral video series was born. Its brilliance was that it included both parents in the joke truly reflecting how Gen X families operate.

I share all of this to lead into today’s example of why marketing with women in mind is more successful than overtly marketing to women. As the upfronts approach, The New York Post explains that American women are not choosing female focused channels like Lifetime or Hallmark (Lifetime’s rating dropped 17% in the first quarter and Hallmark’s audience drew 17% fewer women than a year ago). They are choosing MTV, Bravo and even the History Channel and ESPN instead. My thesis is that these channels have done a great job defacto marketing to women. There is no doubt that Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise is intended for women’s audience (and that all women want Andy Cohen to be their best friend) yet Bravo never has to say they are telelvision for women. And their numbers are up 37%. Even “grown up” women want to watch Jersey Shore and The Real World and as obnoxious as I find Snooki mania you can’t knock the 67% jump in viewership for the quarter. Besides the more unisex programming of shows like Top Chef there is also the husband/boyfriend factor at play. Bottom line, you can probably get your husband to watch something on Bravo but ask him to tune into Lifetime and he will find something that needs his immediate attention.

The jury is still out on OWN but Oxygen, Lifetime and Hallmark have their work cut out for them to compete with all of the cable channels that are stealing their audience by being inclusive.

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May 23, 2024
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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