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Reality Debris: How Gawker Media and MTV Leveraged an Unnecessary Charity Drive For PR and Profit

Posted by Abe Sauer on January 13, 2011 10:30 AM

Last October, Gawker Media site Jezebel (tagline: "Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for Women") launched a college scholarship drive for two stars of a reality TV series on MTV. Originally part of the show 16 and Pregnant, they had given up their baby for adoption and MTV continued to follow them on the spin-off series, Teen Mom.

Of the fund-raiser, Jezebel stated, "Catelynn and Tyler have won us over, exhibiting strength and maturity in the face of hardship, and they've expressed a desire to continue their schooling. So we've decided to help them raise some cash for their college education." The drive produced thousands of dollars in donations from the site's readers.

But a recent court case involving another of the Teen Mom stars resulted in the disclosure of MTV pay rates for the cast, in turn making Jezebel's charitable fund-raiser look more like a giant grift, with Gawker Media, MTV and the teens all winning out. It's a fascinating case study in transparency for brands and their pro-social efforts.Continue reading...

media brands

Lifetime's Brand Identity Complex

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 24, 2010 10:35 AM

Lifetime is in transition, again. The latest chapter in the network’s search for itself includes a push for younger viewers – a sweet spot for advertisers – and has resulted in a dwindling audience of loyal, older viewers.

The current perception of Lifetime: “‘It’s great for my mom, but I wouldn't watch it.' That has to change," said JoAnn Alfano, Lifetime's executive vice president of programming. "In some ways it's not rocket science. We want to invite all women into the tent and offer a cross-section of programming."

But it’s hard to have a tent that big in television today. The move away from serious dramas and women-in-jeopardy movies – which put Lifetime on the map -- was an attempt to attract new demographic while maintaining loyal viewers.

Lifetime's ad revenue fell 12 percent to $656.8 million in 2009, and the TV-for-women arena is getting crowded. The upcoming launch of Oprah Winfrey's OWN network poses serious competition with programming that empowers women. Oxygen, WE, Style Network and TLC – all catering to women – are all chasing the same audience and advertisers.Continue reading...

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