Sunday, April 21, 2013

What Was Wrong With Speed Channel And Why

I mean besides having long ago become The NASCAR Channel.  And it's academic, anyway, now that Speed Channel will become Fox Sports 2 (or whatever they're going to call it).  It will no longer be exclusively about motorsports.

I couldn't understand why Speed's programming had become progressively more brain-dead over the past few years.  Not just the "How To" programs that shill for aftermarket products, or Tommy Kendall's "road tests," and the like.  I mean the idiot reality shows, of which there were more and more. And which themselves became sillier and sillier.  I don't follow "media"or study it, so it was a mystery to me.

The answer was supplied by a media critic who I happened to see (on TV) last weekend.  He was explaining the decline of network news, and the rise of dumbed-down cable news channels.  But he used Comedy Central and Lifetime as examples.  Nobody can get, or goes for, a mass audience any more.  That's why network news operations, with an audience of about 9 million, are shadows of their former selves--and advertising revenue.  By contrast, if a cable news show can get 1 million viewers, it's doing pretty well.  So today, the strategy is to micro-target an audience and "serve" the living daylights out of it.  Thus Comedy Central targets "males aged 18-24."  Lifetime targets "females, aged 44-60."  And so on.  That way your advertisers know exactly who's watching, and can micro-target their message. The lower ad rates make it practical for them to produce inexpensive commercials, and run them endlessly on your micro-targeted channel.

Viola!  Speed Channel targets males, aged 18-24.  (Come to think of it, I don't watch Comedy Central as much as I used to.  Same reason, same demographics.)  My bet is that Fox Sports 2 (or whatever they call it) will be "All Stunts, All The Time."  Bread and circuses, with the emphasis on circuses.

No comments:

Post a Comment