In its upfront pitch, three-year-old Pop is telling media buyers it’s got more viewers and it knows more about them.
A joint venture of CBS and Lionsgate, Pop took over the cable position of the TV Guide Network and set out to serve what it calls "Modern Grown-ups."
“It’s working,” said Pop president Brad Schwartz, noting that Pop is one of a handful of networks whose viewership has increased in each of the past five years. “We built this channel that’s fun and familiar and every time you come to us, if you’re part of the Modern Grown-up audience of people who came of age in the 80s and 90s, our channel should just feel really, really fun and optimistic.”
Over the past few years, the rising ratings have translated into higher ad revenue. Kagan estimates that Pop’s ad revenue rose to $66 million in 2017 from $63 million in 2016. Kagan forecasts Pop’s ad revenue hitting $68 million in 2018.
Pop said it will air 400 hours of original programming this year, enough to ensure it has at least on original on every month. Current shows include Schitt’s Creek, Swedish Dicks and Clique. Flack, a series about a public relations expert living in London starring Anna Paquin, is slated to premiere in the first quarter of 2019.
At a time of peak TV, Schwartz said, Pop’s programming differentiates it from the channels it deems competitors. Unlike networks that are programmed mainly with unscripted and non-fiction shows -- like E!, Bravo, Oxygen and VH1 -- Pop focuses on scripted programming featuring A-list talent either in front of or behind the camera.
And Pop’s scripted programming isn’t dark like much of what’s on USA, FX or TNT. Pop viewers want content that’s “smart and light that connects and uplifts them,” featuring “familiar faces and familiar formats, but seen through a fresh lens,” Schwartz said.
A big part of Pop’s upfront presentation was a new study of 1,300 of its viewers it commissioned. The study found that most of the Pop audience watched live TV every day, and said they’re watching more live TV than last year. Two thirds are married or living with partners; two thirds own a home, and almost half make $75,000 or more annually.
Read more at broadcastingcable.com.