As senior VP and GM of Fox Family’s new gender-specific, digital TV nets boyzChannel and girlzChannel, Lawrence plans a mix of new and not-so-new programming in blocks for preschoolers, kids and their folks.
To support the Halloween dual debut, Web sites (www.gChannel.com, www.bChannel.com and www.parentzChannel.com) were launched mid-June. Lawrence has no worries about attracting viewers, based on the Web site traffic. ‘In the first week, we had five million hits,’ she says, ‘and there have been 15 million hits to date. The response has been tremendous, and kids are spending a lot of time on the site once they get there.’
Lawrence isn’t troubled about advertisers shying away from the girlzChannel either. For one thing, Fox Family isn’t looking for advertisers until ‘we reach a critical mass of distribution.’ And then? ‘There is a lot of interest on the part of the advertising community,’ Lawrence says. ‘A lot of manufacturers do target girls and boys [separately], and we’ve had positive feedback about the girlzChannel.’
Though specific times aren’t being released, the preschool blocks will air in the morning, with kids blocks airing in the after-school period, and the parents block beginning at 9 p.m. Original programming includes a show in the parents block with the working title All About Kids and Parents, a talk show with American pediatrician Dr. T. Berry Brazelton. Parentz 101 is another working title for an issues-related talk show, set to air with the launch. Talk shows will also air on the kids blocks. Programming on the preschool blocks include Shining Time Station on the girlzChannel and Eerie Indiana for boys. Fox Family will run shows from the Saban library, including Captain Kangaroo on the boyzChannel.
But why the gender separation at all? ‘We learned from research that boys and girls view the world differently,’ Lawrence explains. ‘They have different needs. This is an untapped opportunity to serve girls and boys, and to explore the diversity of experiences around being a boy or a girl.’ Lawrence explains that the parents blocks on both channels will be geared to the unique aspects of raising girls and boys. ‘That’s why original programming focuses on talk shows,’ she says. ‘This allows kids to express themselves and interact with experts.’ Lawrence says the plan is to tie in the Web sites to programming by incorporating kids on-line suggestions into shows.
Before heading up this gendered programming experiment, Lawrence was VP of affiliate marketing for Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite and TV Land. She played a key role in the launches of Nick digital networks Noggin, Nick Games and Sports and Nick Too. KB