As Fox Family Channel tries to distinguish itself from other children’s broadcasters, the debut of a new viewing option begs the question – has the American market reached the saturation point for young viewers, and corresponding advertisers? Responses vary.
Paul Kurnit, president of Griffin Bacal in New York, believes there will always be an audience for quality shows. ‘But it depends on whether Fox will find an attitude and voice that kids identify with,’ he says. ‘Otherwise it will be more of the same and that might not work in the long run.’ Debbie Soloman, senior partner of media research at J. Walter Thompson in Chicago, Illinois, agrees. ‘It’s amazing how advertisers that never before considered the children’s market are advertising on these networks,’ she says. ‘It may just be that they have to now, in order to keep up with companies already reaching kids on these specialty broadcasters.’
Not everyone is convinced another network will be good for the business. ‘At a certain point, you’re just making pieces of the pie smaller for everyone, and I think that’s what’s happening here,’ says Jon Mandel, senior VP, director of national broadcasting at Grey Advertising in New York.
But according to Bishop Cheen, entertainment industry analyst with First Union Capital Markets in North Carolina, smaller pies may be better if they are the right flavor. ‘Fragmentation is the name of the game,’ he says. ‘The truth is that advertisers will pay any money if they know they are targeting the right set of eyes, even if the numbers show the audience size is shrinking.’
Fox Family sales are on track according to Rick Sirvaitis, president of ad sales, although he would not indicate what the performance targets are.