POV: Fine tuning

US cable net Bravo recently posted its best Q2 in its 27-year history in prime and total day in the sought-after adult 18-to-49 demo and total viewers. How did it manage that? By focusing on upscale viewers, says EVP of programming and production Frances Berwick
October 1, 2007

What’s your first thought when it comes to programming?
It’s all about upscale for us. We want young viewers, but they need to be educated, upscale and affluent. So with all our shows, we’ve got that thought of ‘Is it going to appeal to an upscale audience?’

How do you target the 18-to-49 demo?
Are the subjects in the shows relatable to an upscale audience? Also, do they have great lifestyles that are either relatable or coveted? With a show like The Real Housewives of Orange County, the majority of women in it are in their early 40s, but the median [viewer] age for the show is in the early 30s because a lot of these women have teenaged kids. With shows like Work Out, which follows a gym owner and her group of trainers, what’s driving the 18-to-49 viewership is relatable workplace drama; there’s a lot of office politics.

How does the drive for 18-to-49s affect scheduling?
We definitely try to take advantage of time periods where we think we can attract this demo. In particular, we absolutely load up on originals during weekday day because that’s the time we get college students who happen to be home and have time on their hands. So we’ll do a number of marathons and stacks of shows then to try to bring people in. We’ve definitely seen our daytime median age come down a lot – it tends to go down over the summer. During the rest of the year it’s all about sampling. We drive sampling by repeating shows in a number of different time periods across the week so that we load up on those younger demos, whether that’s weekend mornings or late nights, as well as the prime airings.

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