Like a marketing "Dear Abby," Romance Classics
will soon give out a "marketing kit" containing advice for cable operators on
"Connecting with the Millennium Woman."
The idea behind the kit is to offer affiliates and
nonaffiliates pointers that "could be incorporated into their media planning and
strategy -- how to speak to women, what media to use," AMC Networks president Kate
That's because "women are the No. 1
opportunity," with unprecedented economic clout, she added.
All told, 200,000 copies of the kit -- actually a 14-page
booklet -- will be distributed via inserts into trade magazines (including the Dec. 6 Multichannel
News) and at the Western Show.
Media choices touted by Romance include radio and outdoor,
to reach working-women commuters; airport media and airline magazines, to target traveling
businesswomen; and the Web, usage of which by women is soaring.
Romance now has 1,500 affiliates reaching 29 million cable
subscribers, none of whom will see the kit until Dec. 6, McEnroe said.
Based on data tabulated by research firm WomanTrend of
Washington, D.C., Romance's kit points out that women play the dominant role in
paying bills, handling 80 percent of all cable bills.
Reminded that Hispanic women's network Gems Television
tried to get operators to act on similar research interests several years ago, McEnroe
observed, "Gems may have been ahead of its time."
Today's women also strongly prefer the idea of
bundling services on one bill, she added, noting that this came out of research for parent
company Cablevision Systems Corp.
The Romance kit cites cause-related marketing efforts as
another strategy. It mentions a half-dozen causes or organizations -- including the
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, with which Romance recently
began its first annual "Paws for the Cause" promotion on adopting dogs, as well
as efforts linked to fighting ovarian and skin cancer -- but not breast cancer, a longtime
focus for rival Lifetime Television.
Without focusing directly on that omission, McEnroe said
the point is that cause-related marketing can be a strong element in connecting with
Another finding -- culled from interviews with 2,000 women
by WomanTrend over the past two years, including focus groups -- is that today's
woman looks to television and cable chiefly for "entertainment and stress
relief" and to the Internet for news, information, electronic commerce and
As a result, Romance is now altering its Web site along
those lines, and it will make its enhanced interactive cable content more passive -- in
effect "leaving the existing TV [experience] alone," McEnroe said.
In the course of its research gathering, Romance also asked
respondents about their awareness of the various women's networks and Web sites, but
McEnroe declined to discuss those findings.