Hitting the Primary Target

Nov 10, 2003  •  Post A Comment

While the television industry scratches its head about why the number of young male viewers has declined this season, one thing is crystal clear about today’s TV landscape: Women remain programmers’ and advertisers’ primary target.
Since women were first defined as the “lady of the house” demographic decades ago, programmers have taken advertisers’ cues and fashioned much of their fare for the adult female set. Over the years many more women have entered the work force, but there are still more females watching television than males.
Advertisers on the whole still spend more money on women than on men, and programmers still strive to appeal to the adult female audience.
For TelevisionWeek’s inaugural “What Women Watch” special report, we profile 10 programmers who excel at the business of reaching women through television. For some, getting women viewers’ attention was more purposeful than for others, but for all of the featured programmers, females have been a boon to their business.
For example, UPN Entertainment topper Dawn Ostroff, who made a name for herself at Lifetime, didn’t make it a mission to draw more women, yet the network has blossomed among female viewers under her leadership.
Oprah Winfrey and “Judging Amy” creator Barbara Hall were just trying to make shows they would like to watch. But Mike Fleiss, creator of “The Bachelor,” knew right off the bat his show would appeal to women-that was his aim.
“Women are in some ways more valuable viewers,” Mr. Fleiss said, “not just because they tend to spend more money, but because they are more dedicated to the programs they watch.”