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Branding a Key Goal For TV One’s Siegel

Newly minted TV One president Brad Siegel wants to better define the network’s brand in an effort to be more competitive.

Siegel, just tapped to head up operations for the 10-year-old channel, said consumers know it as an entertainment service targeting African-American viewers, but he said it needs to narrow its focus to be more successful.

“The network gets watched and they clearly know it’s targeted to African-Americans, but if you press people beyond the demographic, its gets harder to define the brand,” he said. “We need to do the work that goes into brand-building to better understand the audience.”

Siegel, formerly vice chairman for UP TV, inherits a 56.5 million-subscriber network that averaged 178,000 primetime viewers in November — down 11% compared to the same period last year — but has had success with such series franchises as Unsung, R&B Divas and, more recently, Hollywood Divas.

Though African-American viewers watch more television than any other group, TV One is competing with targeted services BET, Centric, Aspire and broadcast multicast service Bounce TV, as well as such general-entertainment networks as WE tv, Oxygen and Lifetime who are reaching out to African-American women through original reality shows.

“In order to compete in that increasingly competitive landscape, TV One’s brand has to be much better defined and articulated so that people really know what TV One is about, beyond it just being an entertainment network with a collection of programming that targets African-Americans,” Siegel said. “Once we define that brand it will direct our original programming development efforts in a more focused way.”

Siegel hopes to have a more defined brand for TV One by the upfront season next spring. “Hopefully by then, we’ll be able to shape the conversation about where TV One is going and where it needs to go in order to grow to the next level.”