Dave Gee: Entertainment Now: My Network TV not living up to its name
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Flegling US broadcast network, MyNetworkTV is preparing for a big marketing push, as it tries to educate viewers that it actually exists.

The News Corp (Fox) owned network was launched in early September, to provide programming for stations left out in the cold when the WB and UPN networks merged to create the new CW network.

My Network TV
currently covers about 96% of the United States, offering a unique schedule of English-language telenovelas - limited-run television serials - very popular with Spanish-speaking viewers.

At the moment, MyNetworkTV is running two shows in primetime, Fashion House (starring Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild) and Desire. They're both translated from Spanish series, and air every weeknight, with a recap episode on Saturday night. These two shows will end after a 13 week run, being replaced in December by two new telenovelas.
(They also screen on Australia's W. Channel, under the branding 'FOXTELENOVELA').

But MyNetworkTV has so far failed to fire in the ratings, and is reportedly losing close on a million dollars a week. Only around 900,000 viewers tune in each night to watch the shows - around a 1% share - well below other free-to-air broadcast networks (although the shows have fared slightly better in markets with large Latin populations).

Despite the poor start, News Corp plans to stick with the telenovelas, rather than replacing them with reality or news programming at this stage. (ABC has had considerable success with their new show Ugly Betty, adapted from a hit Colombian telenovela).

Chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group Roger Ailes says test audiences do like the shows on his fledgling network, but admits "I probably undermarketed it". My Network TV is planning a big marketing push over the next three months through supermarkets, WalMart, and billboards in key markets, as well as encouraging web surfers to sample the shows online.

The network may also tone down the content of its shows, after test audiences wanted "less graphic scenes, and more romance".

Advertisers also indicated concerns over content as one reason why they haven't so far bought big on the new network. (The Parents Television Council has already made indecency complaints, after the word "shit" was used on the telenovela, Desire. - Huh?! Get a grip people! ;-)

* Advertising Age: My Network TV Retools Marketing, Programming
* MyNetworkTV Official Website