New Fuse Looks to Strike Chord With Multicultural Millennials

Fuse Media — formerly SiTV Media — this fall will merge its music-themed Fuse (with 71 million subscribers) and Hispanic-targeted NUVOtv (35 million subscribers) networks to bolster a Fuse brand targeted squarely at millennials, who comprise about 25% of the population. The company also wants to launch a new music-themed service, tentatively titled FM, targeted to those same 18-to-34-year-olds. The Wire grilled Fuse Media president Bill Hilary about the changes:

MCN: Pardon the pun, but how do you fuse a music-centric network in Fuse with an English-language entertainment service targeted to Hispanic viewers and then look to reach a whole new audience in millennials?

Bill Hilary: That was the question we asked ourselves, but at the end of the day, we got very excited because music is by nature Hispanic and multicultural — it speaks the language of this new generation. So already, the similarities are there. Fuse as a music channel already has a large number of African-American and Hispanic people viewing and consuming it. We also did a lot of research on NUVO and found that young, Hispanic people do not want to be put in a corner and pigeon-holed, but rather want to be recognized as part of the new America, and that’s what they want to celebrate.

MCN: How does FM fit into the mix?

BH: FM, which is a working title, will be a music channel, but a music channel in a way that you haven’t seen before. It will feature stories about the people within music. It’s not just about music videos, but I can’t say too much more than that.

MCN: Will FM take over Fuse’s subscribers or NUVO’s subscribers?

BH: That’s really complicated because it’s neither. One will be a big network and one will be a smaller network — around 32 million homes — but it’s not as simple as doing a swap [of subscribers]. Operators have been positive about the moves, and they see this as something new and they believe in the brand. This is bringing a fresh approach to cable, which is something I think they are excited about.

MCN: What role will entertainer and NUVOtv chief creative officer Jennifer Lopez play going forward?

BH: She’s very much part of the mix and very much part of our team of people that are on the creative side. Also, there’s her production company, Nuyorican Productions [which will develop an unscripted show for the network], and she really truly believes in this brand of the new America. She has been at the forefront of reaching a new multicultural America for many years, and she has been invaluable when it comes to her advice and her support for that audience.

Oxygen Zooms In on What Young Women Want

Oxygen has spent the past year executing a rebrand aimed squarely at millennial women — roughly those in the 18-34 demo — with an additional emphasis on engaging multicultural viewers.

For insight to help drive the effort behind shows like Sisterhood of Hip-Hop and The Investment Club, the network has teamed up with parent NBCUniversal’s Content Innovation Agency to develop a more comprehensive picture of millennial women — beyond what they like to watch on TV. A team “embarked on a research road trip,” their report said, conducting a nationwide survey and having a series of conversations with entrepreneurs, experts and members of Generations X and Y. The result is the Curve Americana Trilogy — a three-part report looking at men, women and youth.

Here were some key findings:

• 88% of women say their parents emphasized a good job over a spouse.

• Four in five millennial women feel flexibility is more important than a 5-year plan.

• 69% of young women today feel they don’t have as strong a motherly instinct as previous generations did.

• 71% of Gen X and Y women feel its more relevant to “have tried it all” than to “have it all.”

• 63% of young women believe that men and women still don’t have equal opportunities today.

For more insights on millennial programming and targeting.

— Dade Hayes, Broadcasting & Cable

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.