Young Men Deserting UPN and the WBBy Michelle
November 25, 2003 - 10:46 PM
While much has been made of the declining audience numbers for Star Trek: Enterprise, media analysts noted that this is part of a trend that seems to be hitting the WB and UPN particularly hard.
In a Hollywood Reporter article reprinted at Yahoo!, Scott Collins notes that "the apparent defection of young male viewers from broadcast TV this season...has been especially brutal for the WB and its rival UPN, both of which have lower median ages and target a younger demographic than ABC, CBS or NBC."
The WB and UPN have lost more than one-fifth of their core 18-34 audience so far this fall in their key 18-49 demographics, while nearest rival Fox is up 11%. Both networks blame faulty Nielsen reporting in part for the lower ratings.
Viacom researcher David Poltrack said Nielsen may be inaccurately counting some men in the 18-34 category, like those in college whose viewing habits are harder to track. "I think that in the case of UPN and the WB, they are getting hit harder on the male side," he said.
But Steve Sternberg of Magna Global reflects advertising concerns, noting that UPN and the WB have added more comedies appealing to female viewers and failed to provide programming to attract young men.
Whatever the cause, wrote Collins, "the ratings are bad enough to crimp profits at the WB and add to the gush of red ink at UPN, which has never turned an annual profit."
In an effort to bring in the desired viewers, UPN recently announced that it would search again for America's Next Top Model on Tuesdays at 9 p.m., and has given the go-ahead for Mystery Girl, which Variety describes as focusing on "a crime-solving Paris Hilton."