Lecture 9/22 ? The Netlets The Fox Formula, Cont. Targeted underserved audience groups Counterprogramming the Big 3 African Americans, teenagers, blue collar workers and families Attracting specific demographics Also tossed out certain viewer groups that they didn?t want 1987 Arsenio Hall Show Tracy Ullman Show (brought us the Simpsons) 1990 Beverly Hills In Living Color Parker Lewis Can?t lose Fox and Curtin?s Edge Goal: push the boundaries of taste Create an ?edge? of the audience OK to turn away from universal values if it attracts target audiences Generate intense interest; speak to viewers Changes at FOX Mid-1990?s Moves to broader audiences Gets rights to NFL ?Trades up? for more desirable demographics (throws away loyal, underserved audiences?want everyone) But: Retains ?edge? strategy Fox as Inspiration The Netlets The WB, UPN, the CW Using Fox?s strategies The end of Fin-Syn Remember fin-syn: Financial Interest Rule ? limits amount of original programming the networks can show to 15 hours per week Syndication Rule ? Networks couldn?t do off-network syndication (2nd run) FCC phases out Fin-Syn 1992-1995 Repeal: threatens independent producers, helps networks Networks Regain Power Own 50%+ of series on network schedules Budget increases squeeze out independent producers Result: Mergers & buy-outs Produces vertical AND horizontal integration Launch of the WB Plans to begin in 1993; launch on 1/11/95 Partnership between Warner Bros. And Tribune Company (also own WGN) Only 88% penetration by 2005 (Fox had 86% in their first year) Launch Strategy of WB Network-Affiliate Relationship Affiliates pay for programming (different from FOX, not necessarily their downfall though) Intensify branding Michigan J. Frog Studio iconography Strategies Borrowed from Fox Programming for underserved audiences 1995-1999: African Americans 1997-2006: Teens/Females Clip of real bad WB promo from 2000 Mid-Casting Building a broad audience one segment at a time More specific than the Big 3; less specific than niche cable Paramount and UPN Finally get a network Coin op didn?t work Pay TV didn?t work January 16, 1995: UPN premieres (5 days after WB premiere) Why now? More money in network distribution than first run syndication Partnership between Viacom and Paramount Problems at UPN Difficulties defining audience Advantage: Star Trek franchise 1995-1997: Competed with WB Appeals to young urban audiences Rethinking Strategies 1999-2002: Target blue collar men Smackdown ?Used Parts Network? ? picking up throw-aways from other big 3, as well as FOX and WB But still coveting the WB audience The Business of business 1999: Viacom merges with CBS Viacom gets permission to own two networks 2006: Viacom and CBS split; CBS gets UPN Consolidation: The CW UPN and the WB: $1 billion lost by 2006 January 2006: both announce end of operations Competitors unite: CBS and WB = The CW ?Best of both worlds? Strong affiliates are merged Popular programming is matched up Challenge: drawing a clearly defined audience (still)
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