What's your family watching these days? The NFL? CNBC? Fox's "Raising Hope"?
No matter. Traditional TV advertisers may tell you there is still not enough family-oriented TV programming.
The Association of National Advertiser's Alliance for Family Entertainment (AFE), a group of 40 national advertisers, is partnering with Overbrook Entertainment, co-founded by actor Will Smith and film producer James Lassiter, to sponsor a scriptwriting contest for new family programming, both drama and comedy. Winners will receive $5,000, a meeting with Overbrook and the opportunity to have their script developed.
In 1998, the AFE started fostering family shows, and credits some 20 network prime-time shows that came through its story/screenwriting funding program, including: "Friday Night Lights," "Chuck," "Everybody Hates Chris," "8 Simple Rules" and "Gilmore Girls."
TV marketers want everyone in the same room to hear their messages for greater impact. But it it’s becoming a tougher and tougher chore to create entertainment that way. Disney/Pixar theatrical movies go through this every holiday season, looking to entertain the kids and not leaving parents feeling as if they wasted two hours of entertainment time on something beneath them.
Hallmark Channel, ABC Family, and a few others may seem to have the "family" programming tag -- but their brand messages aren't always what you'd expect. Hallmark Channel's tagline is: "The Heart of TV." ABC Family's is: "A New Kind of Family."
TV viewers, whatever their "family" configuration, may just want good entertainment. Violent images, tough language, difficult subject matter? That’s a subjective call, though many would agree these elements are not for young kids.
Fifteen years ago, if TV advertisers wanted to push family-oriented programming, they could gain impact from having shows on three or five networks -- now they would need to seek like 60. Looking for scale to reach any mass viewer group has become harder for any big-rated, high-quality TV program.