Over the past few years, faith-based networks have increasingly targeted certain demographics, including women, Hispanics and youth. But that doesn't mean networks believe men are a well-served demographic. Just the opposite.
"It's only recently that we've stepped back and said, ‘What is it that's specifically reaching out to men?'" said EWTN CEO Michael Warsaw. "We realized that there was much more we could do to serve men. It is an underserved demographic."
Roman Catholic-focused EWTN recently began carrying Crossing the Goal, hosted by former National Football League wide receiver and coach Danny Abramowicz. The program has a format and set reminiscent of sports shows such as ESPN's SportsCenter, partly to catch the notice of channel-surfers.
"It doesn't look like an EWTN set," Abramowicz said. "We did it that way, because if you start preaching to men, they're gone. Guys aren't going to say, ‘Let's get a six-pack and go watch EWTN.'"
"There are some styles and approaches that, even in the secular world, work better for men," added EWTN executive vice president and chief operating officer Douglas Keck.
Reaching men is a challenge that spans all ages. The Inspiration Networks recently began targeting the 18-to-34 demo.
"The male side of that demo is one of the hardest demographics for anybody to reach," said chief operating officer Bill Airy.
One strategy is to reach men through their wives and girlfriends who are already viewers, such as with marketing during female-skewing programs. Another strategy is to market the programs in secular print and broadcast outlets that have big male audiences.
"We might be looking at some cross-channel promos or advertising in venues that aren't traditional venues for religious broadcasters: sports channels or sports magazines," said EWTN's Warsaw.
Daystar also sees opportunities in the male demo.
"Daystar has a large percentage of male viewers," said company co-founder Marcus Lamb. "For the last year, we have been catering to that male demographic with targeted programming [such as] week-long specials that we have branded ‘Man Week' filled with originals like Daystar Sports, The Apostles of Comedy, movies and more."
To attract male as well as female viewers, Odyssey Networks' reality-style Looking for Love focuses on relationships.
"It follows a successful businesswoman who had it all -- but for Mr. Right," said Odyssey CEO Nick Stuart. "When money isn't enough, she becomes inspired by her religion to dig deep and look for what really matters in a person.
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