Mel's Diner: Kim Martin
January 29, 2007 4:22 PM
Who: Kim Martin, executive VP and general manager, WE TV
When: Jan. 11, 2007, breakfast
Where: The Gardens restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel, Los Angeles
Dined On: Kim skipped coffee at breakfast. The New York-based exec was still on East Coast time, and had two cups before our meeting at 9. She went for the skillet scramble, while Rainbow Media Holdings Corporate Communications VP Matthew Frankel, who arranged our introduction, ordered berries. (Rainbow owns WE.) My breakfast out, as usual, was the so-very-out-there two poached eggs, wheat toast, fruit and tea.
The Dish: Kim came to Los Angeles straight from her first trip to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. She was pretty bowled over by a lot of what she heard and saw, particularly by CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves’ keynote, she said.
In particular what impressed her is what Mr. Moonves had to say about “not being in the content business, but the audience-sharing business,” she said.
Kim is considering numerous new forays online. She and her team are working on collaborations with multiple system operators, which of course try to encourage networks’ online hubs since they can help the MSOs drive their lucrative high-speed Internet business.
In light of NBC’s success with the unedited version of “Saturday Night Live” skit “Dick in a Box” at NBC.com, Kim said she’s “looking at different fare on WE.tv versus on-air.” (Read: If sister network Fuse will remove the pixilation online from telecasts of “Dance Off Pants Off” strippers, just imagine the addictive train-wreck possibilities “Bridezillas” could bring on WE.tv.)
She also already has plans for broadband micro-sites based on popular WE topics such as pets, weddings and relationships. WE uses its Web hub to keep in touch with its viewers, particularly through regular e-mail polls. Kim also is eyeing the development of community areas where viewers can post and share stories, photos, even videos.
Kim was in L.A. primarily to attend the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, where she scheduled a panel featuring former professional wrestler Sandra Scott, star of WE’s new show “Wife, Mom, Bounty Hunter.”
Under Kim's two-year tenure, series have become a larger part of the former movie-centric network’s lineup. She pushed series development at the network based on the notion that for the busy adult female viewers WE targets, half-hours and hours are more accessible than the two to three hours a theatrical takes to air on TV. The network also adopted a new tagline, We Have More Fun.
The moves apparently have paid off. Ratings are up by double-digit percentages in key female demos and up in households by some 8 percent, she said. The additional series also paved integrated sales opportunities, and ad revenue grew “substantially” from 2005 to 2006, Kim said.
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