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NEW YORK – Viacom’s Spike TV is looking to go beyond its focus on men ages 18 to 34 to reach the broader 18-49 demo, including women who may have previously been deterred by the channel’s focus on guys and fratty undertones, the New York Times reported.
Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman recently said that Spike will evolve to “a brand for men, not just guys” and cited the second season of Auction Hunters and such new shows as Repo Games and Coal as moves that will allow Spike to add more original programming.
But the Times said the network is also looking to draw in female viewers. “We don’t want the women leaving the room when the guy’s watching the stuff,” Jeff Lucas, who is the head of sales for the music and entertainment groups at Spike parent MTV Networks, told the paper.
For example, Spike will tone down an at times fratty attitude exemplified by the double entendre in its slogan “Get some action,” which will disappear, according to the Times.
Overall, the revamped Spike will be less like Maxim magazine and more like Esquire, the Times cited executives as saying.
However, the network will keep UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) programming, which has been core to Spike.
“We want to be a bigger brand,” Niels Schuurmans, executive vp for brand marketing and creative at Spike, told the Times. The network wants to be a brand that is “still talking to that male audience, but not necessarily the young guy,” he added.
Viacom has been using research to update the focus of its cable networks.
Spike was launched in 1983 and previously carried the names Nashville Network, the National Network and TNN. In ranked 19th last year in cable advertising revenue, according to SNL Kagan. But certain types of primetime viewership fell in the fourth quarter, the Times said.
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