The Golf Channel is in the unique position of knowing exactly how its audience spends their time during the week, from the golf course to the sofa.
During client golf meetings, Keith Allo, VP of programming at the Golf Channel, has discovered many viewers are business people who travel, or are successful business owners. Their schedule is steady, and knowing it makes it easy to predict what a golf-loving audience needs from day to day. ‘Monday night is devoted to instruction, the thinking being that people watch [and play] the game on the weekend and Monday they’re thinking ‘I want to get my game better for next weekend,” Allo says. Instructional shows like The Turn engage audiences in the weekend’s tournament by making it relevant to the viewer’s own golf game. If Ernie Els had a tough bunker shot on Sunday, on Monday The Turn will give the viewer tips on how to execute like Els did. Also, because instruction is something you can communicate in under two minutes, the channel is creating short instructional clips that can be threaded throughout the programming.
Tuesday nights have become entertainment night, with reality competition programs like The Big Break and a new show called Highway 18. Wednesday night’s programs look towards the weekend and tournaments. Once Thursday hits, it’s all tournament action with news and talk programming to support it until the tournament is over on Sunday.
But a recent development has caused the channel to juggle between meeting the needs of its regular niche audience and a new one coming to the channel. The Golf Channel is in its second year of having PGA tour rights, meaning it is the exclusive cable home of the PGA tour in the United States for the next 15 years. ‘This opened us up to a whole new group of people. We are in a never-ending battle of increasing the quality of our programming to create types of programming that people will want to watch, to stretch the audience outside of the typical tournament, but again we’re careful not to do too much of that,’ he says. The channel has hopes of keeping its core audience, while at the same time offering entertainment fare to the young demo.