Finally: An Article Concerned With What Men Really Want (No, Really)
The Idiot's Lantern
Hollywood Reporter has an article about the challenges faced by TV executives in marketing to a particular demographic. No, not women! This is actually not another article talking about how hard it is to market towards a female audience! This is actually about men, specifically those in the 15-34 age demographic. And surprisingly enough, it’s not a matter of catering to the lowest common denominator because the most popular shows watched by men are hardly what you’d consider “filler.” And the reasons they like what they like are truly anthropological. This is insightful, interesting, and not your typical “What Men Want” article.
Since statistics cited by THR show that the TV-watching audience is about 60 percent women (they don’t cite a source), advertisers find it slightly less expensive to buy commercials during “female-friendly” shows. However, that won’t stop execs from shelling out the cash to advertise during “male-friendly” shows, even if the audience and ratings are smaller. (We’ll note that we do not specifically endorse the assignment of gender to shows, but for the sake of this story, we’re just going to go with what they’re saying here.) It depends mostly on loyalty — even if advertisers buy commercials during low-rated shows, such as those on cable, if men are watching the shows on a regular basis, the advertisements are worth it because they are extremely likely to be seen.
But what THR also found was that there are different motivations behind what men watch. They say that women watch certain shows because it gives them a sense of empowerment (e.g., Oprah, to cite a stereotypical example). But men watch shows for different reasons, like getting pumped (!), or getting ready “for battle”:
According to ad-buying firm Starcom, men consume media for four reasons: to prepare themselves for battle; to feel rebellious; to connect to a passion (mostly sports, music or cars); and to be mentally challenged. Starcom measured 600 media outlets, including TV, digital and print properties, and polled 20,000 people to arrive at a proprietary “emotional index” for planning and buying purposes.
This means they gravitate towards shows that are not only entertaining but informative (The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, ESPN, CNBC, etc.) as well as subversive, allowing them to “be rebellious” (Adult Swim, Tosh.0, etc.). And obviously, competitive, which revealed that there is a huge male audience for shows like American Idol and NBC‘s The Voice.
They enjoy things that are entertaining, informative, and subversive? My god… these “men” sound just like… us!
The lists of the top 10 shows by men of various ethnicities in the 18-34 demo are very interesting, to say the least. Yes, lots of cartoons, lots of sports, but singing and dancing competition shows? (And Chelsea Lately!) That’s awesome. But it’s also why we have to endure AXE commercials during Robot Chicken. It’s cool, guys. We don’t mind sharing. Lets go watch some My Little Pony.