We have been listening for years to commissioners of Factual channels who are seeking Male viewers, and we never expected to hear, as we did recently: “We want to be near Comedy Central.”
So we assembled a chart that places 16 U.S. Factual networks on a spectrum between:
- Content-driven, like PBS, and
- Entertainment-driven, like Comedy Central
Here’s how we place them:
To give you a sense of scale, here is the 2Q average prime time viewing data for many of these channels. Note: these are viewers and not the targeted Male demo.
|NAT GEO WILD|
1. Overall, the tide is running strong from Right to Left. It has been for the best part of a decade.
2. Several channels are held back from making the leap across the spectrum towards the “Comedy Central Male”
- For example, Travel Channel needs to keep its existing viewers happy.
- Discovery is somewhat constrained by its flagship brand…
- … And Nat Geo by its brand and the “yellow borders” heritage of the blue chip Nat Geo Society, which is a 50/50 partner in the channel with the controversial Rupert Murdoch-dominated News Corp.
3. History is the channel that nailed the journey from Content to Entertainment:
- History was once dubbed the “Hitler Channel” because it appealed to the aging male demo that loved content-driven docs and series about WW2.
- History successfully introduced the working-class reality adventure series Ice Road Truckers, and then hit home runs with Pawn Stars, American Pickers and American Restoration.
- These programs appealed to the established audience, and yet attracted a horde of younger viewers who were drawn to their blue collar, expert talent and the “yard sale” message that fits America’s never-ending hard times.
- Pawn Stars drove History up into the highest ranks of cable channels.
4. Military Channel, the Smithsonian Channel and other niche programmers are finding room to grow in the much-diminished “Content-driven” space.
What do you think? Send us your comments.
- Read our 4-part series on The Rise and Rise of Leftfield Pictures and Pawn Stars
- Did you miss? How Did Rupert Become Rupert?
- And coming soon: the video of our successful NY State Bar Association panel on Pawn Stars, with History’s Mary Donohue, Leftfield’s Brent Montgomery, and Leftfield’s agent Rob Miller (Peleton Entertainment)
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