Broadcasting & Cable’s cover story this week is on MTV and its strategy around improving Nielsen ratings, which will include trying to win back young men:

The second prong in MTV’s overhaul is focusing on underserved target demos. To achieve that, MTV executives are programming the new shows in time slots that had been light on original programming, including Sunday evenings and weekday-afternoon blocks of shows.

One of the problems, at least to advertisers, was a subtle (and unintentional) shift toward female demographics. MTV maintains that its target demo is simply young people, regardless of gender. While that may be true (MTV Networks has niche channels like Spike and VH1 to appeal to specific demos), many of the network’s most notable hits in recent years have skewed female.

According to an audience composition analysis performed by advertising agency RPA covering September through December 2008, MTV was enormously successful in attracting young women. To be sure, the network drew more men than many of its counterparts, but not nearly as many as it did women. According to the analysis, females 12-34 comprised 48% of the MTV audience during that period. Males 12-34 made up just 22%.

To remedy the situation, the new Sunday night block, “See You Sunday,” features shows designed to appeal to young men. The programming, Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory, Nitro Circus, How’s Your News? and The College Humor Show, were programmed together to create a destination for guys. “[We decided] if we focused on a few blocks, we could get a much higher density of young guys,” Friedman says. – read the full story on

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Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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