WE Initiative Reaches Out to Serve Women

May 2, 2005  •  Post A Comment

WE: Women’s Entertainment is giving back to women.

Kim Martin, WE’s new general manager, said that since being put in charge of the network at the beginning of the year, she’s focused on establishing a brand image. So far, the network has done that through original programming and marketing. And this week the network will announce its first service initiative: WE Empowers Women.

“There wasn’t anything at WE or in our industry that spoke to today’s modern woman, and that’s where WE Empowers Women fits in,” Ms. Martin said. “We’re focused on supporting other organizations and charitable groups that really speak to what we feel like our network values are: That’s creating strong, confident, smart women and we’re doing that by providing education, financial assistance as well as providing access to health care and other programs for young women in a lot of different groups.”

Topical Documentaries

WE also will reinforce its brand as a channel for modern women through a series of editorials that will begin in the second half of the year. The network is lining up well-known female politicians and celebrities, who will be given one minute to speak about issues that are relevant to women. Each message will stay on the network for about a week.

The network is also doing topical documentaries. In July, “Tammy Faye: Death Defying” will air. It follows Tammy Faye Messner’s battle with cancer. “Women are very concerned about cancer. We’d expect to do more things like that,” Ms. Martin said.

The first nonprofit group WE Empowers Women is hooking up with is Girls Inc.

“They’re focused on at-risk girls and teenage girls and the goal is to create strong, smart, independent women who are good thinkers and have the ability to take charge of their own life so that by the time they become adults and they’re having to juggle all the priorities that we professional women juggle, they feel confident and able to make some of the tough decisions as they come along,” Ms. Martin said.

WE will help Girls Inc. by running public service announcements on the channel and putting a link on the “WE Empowers Women” Web site. Local Girls Inc. chapters also will have opportunities to work with WE’s cable affiliates. Ms. Martin would not disclose how much direct financial aid Girls Inc. would receive from the network.

WE plans to announce partnerships with two or three other such organizations by the end of the year, Ms. Martin said, adding that WE has worked with a handful of charitable organizations in the past but not consistently.

A Disabled Olympics Sponsor

WE’s rival women’s network Lifetime has a long history of public service efforts for women, including Stop Violence Against Women and Stop Breast Cancer for Life. But Ms. Martin said WE’s effort was based less on following Lifetime’s lead than on the entire industry’s history of public service efforts.

Ms. Martin will introduce WE Empowers Women at this week’s meeting of the Cable Television Public Affairs Association.

The spokesperson for the initiative will be Sandy Dukat, a medal-winning member of the U.S. Disabled Ski Team. WE has sponsored Ms. Dukat in the Disabled Olympics for the past few years. The advisory board for WE Empowers Women includes Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, president and CEO of Women in Cable & Telecommunications; Suzanne Keenan, senior VP of customer service for Comcast Cable; and Dave Andersen, senior VP of communications for Charter Communications.