One demographic to rule them all

There’s a disturbing trend happening in cable specialty channels: they’re being rebranded to appeal to adult women:

  • TLC, the U.S. network formerly known as The Learning Channel, gave up all pretense of educating people and is now a female-centric lifestyle channel running Jon & Kate Plus Eight
  • Scream, the horror movie channel, was rebranded by Corus as Dusk. It includes more “paranormal” content to broaden its appeal and get more women watching.
  • CLT, Canadian Learning Television, was shelved by Corus in favour of VIVA, the network for “boomer women”.

The latest blow came this week as Corus (notice a pattern here?) let it be known that it is rebranding almost-porn network SexTV as “W movies”, starting Nov. 1.

I realize video pornography is easy to acquire these days, but Corus seems to think it needs to change all its specialty channels into women’s channels to appeal to the advertiser-rich demographic. Meanwhile, those of us (male or female) who don’t fit into that stereotype get left behind.

We’ve lost education, horror and sex. What’s next? Will they replace MANswers with Womanswers? Start up the Discovery Emotions channel? Have OUTtv broadcast nothing but Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?

Something must be done to halt the assault on our television.

14 thoughts on “One demographic to rule them all

  1. Horonymous

    Nicklelodeon Canada starts on November 2nd at 6:00 a.m.

    It will take the place of Discovery Kids.

    Another example of a broadcaster changing the content of one of its channels.
    Most Canadian content on Canadian channels are old reruns. Little original Canadian content.
    Very disapointing.

    Prime became TV Tropolis
    Talk TV became MTV
    Life became Slice
    Showcase is full of Global US programming.
    Bravo full of CTV US Programming

    Must be more just can’t think of any now.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      For whatever reason, the CRTC doesn’t require approval before even radical rebranding, so long as the network abides by its original terms of license.

    2. Neville Ross

      Drive-In Classics is going through the same shit, becoming nothing but a delivery system for Xena/The Incredible Hulk-the Baby Blue Movie is gone, as are most of the old B-movies and Rob Salem’s show.

  2. Shawn

    There’s better movies on the “women’s” channels. And have you ever tried to watch Spike TV? It’s an insult to every man’s intelligence….

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Spike TV is only mostly an insult to our intelligence.

      It’s not that I want more men’s channels, it’s that I want specialty channels to stick to their specialties and not all move toward the lowest common denominator.

  3. DAVE ID

    They can’t compete in specialty markets. Even Space was leaning towards including non-genre TV on their channel (this seems to not have happened yet)

    Scream used to be HORROR only, they then included suspense and thrillers, then they changed to DUSK which play Psychic Investigators all the time.

    But the most horrendous content drop was IFC which now shows mainstream movies all the time.

    But it’s not all about branding to women. It’s not being able to market. If the money-making demo is women, they will of course follow the trend.

  4. Sid

    TLC = tender loving care network?

    OK, but frankly can you really expect anything edifying to be radiating out of the “idiot box?”

  5. Anonymous

    What’s worong with appealing to a (supposedly) female demographic?

    And since when are education, horror, and sex “yours” (men’s)?

    1. Fagstein Post author

      What’s wrong with appealing to a (supposedly) female demographic?

      Nothing. Just like there’s nothing wrong with being a Top 40 radio station. The problem is when everybody does it and all the channels start airing the same programming.

      And since when are education, horror, and sex “yours” (men’s)?

      To be clear, I’m not making this a male vs. female thing. There are plenty of women interested in horror, or science. Heck, some of them even watch MANswers. The issue is that these broadcasters (particularly Corus) are replacing their programming by generalist stuff and junk lifestyle reality programming they think will appeal most to women age 30-55.

      The bigger issue is the despecialization of specialty channels by broadcasters who are driven only by greed. They’re trying to do to television what they’ve already done to commercial radio.

      1. DAVE ID

        The bigger issue is the despecialization of specialty channels by broadcasters who are driven only by greed. They’re trying to do to television what they’ve already done to commercial radio.

        Exactly. And then everything becomes bland and boring. If they always lean to the greatest majority, we’ll have an American Idol station before you know it. Greatest Majority leaves a bunch of minorities left in the dark.

        Then they blame the internet for their failures.

  6. MM

    Perhaps this has more to do with filling hours on their stations. They buy a movie package for one of their other channels. Then to save money, they rebrand another channel so that they can run the same movie package on that one as well. The same goes for lifestyle shows.


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