Media Relations: media commentary and criticism

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

spike? ... SPIKE?

TNN changes its name to Spike, seeking male viewers (SFgate.com, San Francisco Chronicle, Tuesday, April 15, 2003 ): Spike is no longer just the name of a famous film director or a volleyball move. Now it's the name of a cable network, too. Struggling TNN -- which just two years ago changed from The Nashville Network to The National Network_ announced Tuesday that, effective June 16, it will call itself Spike TV and become the first network aimed specifically at men.

I think I may voice many people's thoughts when I say: what the hell FOR? The target audience for pretty much every channel everywhere, with the exception of Lifetime, Oxygen, WE, Nickelodeon and Disney, are men 18-35, because men 18-35 are damn stupid with their money, and far more likely than any other group to buy things on impulse. Why on earth would you need to focus an entire network on that group? (And what are ESPN and FoxSports, chopped liver?)

"We just like the idea of having a guy's name," said Albie Hecht, network president. "We thought that was smart and fun and irreverent."

No, it's stupid and silly. Depending on how you look at things, they've just renamed their network after either a little rascal or a vampire on a girls-kick-ass type show. Either way, probably not quite what they were aiming for.

The marketing issue is clear, up to a point. Getting rid of the TNN moniker will keep people from thinking of them as The Nashville Network, at last. That part makes sense. However, using the name "Spike" to compete with "MaximTV" really doesn't, unless the naked/scantily-clad woman quotient of TNN is about to jump considerably.

In any event, unless they change the channel programming radically -- and that does not appear to be in the offing -- they won't increase the number of male viewers. With that sort of explicit focus on males, they're likely to alienate female viewers, in precisely the way the Lifetime, Oxygen and WE alienate male voters. However, those three channels don't, in general, care that they alienate male viewers, and TNN/Spike reportedly doesn't want to drive away women. (Really, given their strikingly low viewership, they can't afford to, can they?)

They're trying to combine things that really don't fit together. And being impressively stupid about it withall.

Posted by iain at 10:21 PM in category

 

Comments

It's cool that there is now a tv show just for men, but the new host of RealTV sucks!!! Ahmad Rashad was much better than this John Daly guy. He talks too much and says stupid corny jokes that make me want to change the channel.

Posted by Roland at June 26, 2003 03:54 PM

It's cool that there is now a tv show just for men, but the new host of RealTV sucks!!! Ahmad Rashad was much better than this John Daly guy. He talks too much and says stupid corny jokes that make me want to change the channel. Also, the footage shown on it now isn't as good. I like the idea of "Stripperella" and "Ren and Stimpy", but RealTV needs to shape up!

Posted by Roland at June 26, 2003 03:57 PM


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