TV

What Spike likes

Spike TV may be the 'premier destination for men,' but who exactly are the men it's targeting, and what do they want? Realscreen spoke with Thomas Grayman, Spike's senior director, brand and consumer research, about the Spike audience, what it expects from the channel, and if it is looking for another break-out hit like The Ultimate Fighter.
November 9, 2009

Spike TV may be the ‘premier destination for men,’ but who exactly are the men it’s targeting, and what do they want? Realscreen spoke with Thomas Grayman, Spike’s senior director, brand and consumer research, about the Spike audience, what it expects from the channel, and if it is looking for another break-out hit like The Ultimate Fighter.

Who is Spike’s core audience?
The truth is our audience is made up of a few different types of audiences. We’ve got one group of viewers that is very much the sports fan, and they are big fans of The Ultimate Fighter and our UFC programming. We’ve got another group of viewers that is more [the] mainstream entertainment fan, and they’ll do scripted entertainment and reality competition programming. Then we’ve got another audience, fans of informationally-based entertainment shows like Manswers and Deadliest Warrior, where you actual learn a little something while being entertained. That is the way, for the moment at least, we look at our audience.

How much of your audience is male versus female?
When speaking about our original programming, our audience is about 3/4 male. Overall, men 18 all the way up to 49 [watch Spike], although our core audience is 18 to 34.

How do you see the audience who tunes in for The Ultimate Fighter (the channel’s top-rating program) versus the rest of your viewers? Is there a difference?They overlap, they’re not completely discreet groups. We do have fans of The Ultimate Fighter who will also watch a show like Manswers which is humorous and informational but there’s no action in the way you would find in ultimate fighting. So there is a fair amount of bleeding across the groups. But, if there are some things that make the [viewing groups] stand out from one another it’s that the fans of shows like The Ultimate Fighter have a real appreciation for programming that delivers an adrenaline rush. Also they like to be able to root for an underdog and see him triumph. They’re sort of driven by dramatic turns of events. When it comes to the sport itself, they love the idea that one guy can seem to be winning the whole way through and in an instant he’s on his back and he’s out, that sort of instant change-of-fortune.

Is Spike looking for more programs like The Ultimate Fighter – more series that focus on extreme sports and the people who participate in them?
We’re constantly looking to expand our footprint in that area. Mixed martial arts for many people is an example of an extreme sport, and what Spike did a few years ago was take a chance on this thing which was not so mainstream, but because it was so driven by action and it had that adrenaline rush, and that drama, it seemed like the kind of thing that would fit well with our brand and with our audience, and it did. So we’re looking to duplicate that kind of success. Last year we aired the championship of freestyle motocross, and a month and half ago we also aired the championships of the Australian Rugby league. That may not exactly be what some people think of as an extreme sport but it has some of the same qualities in that it’s not mainstream but it is really driven by action and a lot of dramatic moments and turns of events. We’re constantly scanning the [programming] universe to see what else is out there that fits that fits that description, and that our viewers can appreciate.

About The Author
Meagan Kashty is an associate editor of realscreen, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Meagan is an award-winning business journalist. Prior to joining the realscreen team, Meagan was online editor of Canadian Grocer, named Magazine of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Business Media Awards. She can be reached at mkashty@brunico.com, and you can follow her on Twitter @MegKashty