Marketers Tune In Family Channels

LOS ANGELES Marketers seeking a techno-savvy, multi-generational audience in our age of media fragmentation need look no further than the typical American family.

That was the consensus of industry executives at the Family Friendly Programming Forum taking place in Los Angeles this week.

“If you think about the whole dynamic—that children, teens and adults are viewing the same shows and having the same experience—it makes a lot of sense from an advertising point of view as a way to make ad dollars go farther,” said Pat Gentile, North American TV programming manager at Procter & Gamble, one of the forum’s co-chairs.

Because family-friendly shows tend to be watched live, the commercials “become part of the program,” elements in the overall viewing experience, she said.

Marketers who strive to create new message delivery channels should consider that families are already “channels of social relevance,” said Stacey Lynn Koerner, president of Interpublic’s Consumer Experience Practice and one of the researchers who presented at the forum.

“We’re trying to find channels to reach families and realizing that families are channels. What we take in we share,” Koerner said.

Koerner recommended that those trying to reach the family audience “enable immersion. We see them time shifting, using video on demand, streaming and downloading more than others.”

Koerner said marketers and family programmers should “engage for insight, not just for impact. People are not talking about the ‘why’ of engagement, and that’s the critical piece.”

She said the industry should conduct further study on “building the back-end research to figure that out. We’re not mining the data to understand them.”

This is crucial, as families purchase technology faster and more often than single consumers—HD TVs twice as much and PDAs almost three times as often, Koerner said.

The Association of National Advertisers, the Family Friendly Programming Forum and the National Council for Families and Television are sponsoring the forum.