CW Redefined As 18-34 Adults, Targets Men

Although largely defined by its young female-centric shows, The CW says its current efforts are intended to pull in more young male viewers this year. It's also hoping to gain some marketing spin by starting up its shows after the broadcast premiere week.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association meeting in Beverly Hills, Calif., Mark Pedowitz, president of the CW, says the inclusion of two more action-oriented shows -- "Arrow" and "The Cult" -- is intended to bring in male viewers. To a lesser degree, the new show "Beauty and the Beast" will look to do the same.

Pedowitz reiterated remarks that the CW should be considered more broadly now -- not just a "women 18-34" network -- at least when it comes to young viewers.

"We're an adult 18-34 network. We are in need of having some men come to our network. The loss of "Smallville" actually had an impact to us," he noted.

CW viewership declined by 20% and more in the key viewers demographic groups over the past season. Some of the blame goes to the network's long-time problem -- viewers are watching shows on digital destinations.

To its credit, CW has been selling ad packages combining traditional TV inventory and online ad inventory to gain back revenues. It has a long way to go. While CW has cobbled some measurement services currently -- which advertisers and media agencies liked -- Pedowitz said traditional metrics still do not accurately measure the total audience that views CW shows.

"The digital streaming numbers on our shows combined with Hulu and Netflix and CWTV.com and the app are astronomical... We can monitor or we can measure who's watching us on digital, but it does not count with the Nielsen ratings. And Nielsen is trying to do the best it can."

Nielsen has been working on a "cross-platform campaign ratings" measuring service -- looking to perfect a metric that pools traditional and digital platforms' viewing results.

CW's schedule for the upcoming season consists of its still-biggest hit, "The Vampire Diaries," as well as other stalwarts: "America's Next Top Model," "Supernatural" and for one more season, "Gossip Girl." New female-skewing shows will include "Sex and the City" prequel "The Carrie Diaries" and midseason show "Emily Owens, M.D."

CW also says it will air another "Muppets" holiday special.

In the past, CW had started up its shows early in August or September to avoid the massive premiere starts of other broadcast networks. No more. "Then, premiere week came and traction disappeared, and we were struggling somewhat throughout the rest of the season," says Pedowitz.

He adds: "The theory here was get away from the clutter, start in October.  It reduces the amount of repeats in the fourth quarter to minimal. It also helps the first and second quarter with very limited repeats, which is one of the complaints that everyone had about The CW."

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