Double your business with us.
That was Oxygen's pitch to advertisers as it kicked off the cable upfront season Tuesday morning. The independent women's network, which grew last year to a nearly fully distributed 71 million homes, is expanding in both linear and online programming, and this morning asked ad buyers to meet the increase by doubling the client bases they bring to Oxygen.
"Get ready to double down because 2007 is Oxygen's year and we want to deal you all in," said President/COO Lisa Gersh.
Oxygen, founded in 2000, has drawn audiences and lowered its median age to what the network says is 42 with younger-skewing reality shows like The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency and The Bad Girls Club, and is trying to convince advertisers that they should put money not just against young males, historically TV's most coveted demo.
"Beer? Videogames? Underpants? The occasional car? Hello, my son's 32 and that's what he buys," said Oxygen Chairman/CEO, Gerry Laybourne. "Our audience are big, fat buyers."
Later in the presentation, lest the crowd think Oxygen was femme-exclusive, a male sales executive took care to point out that guys like Oxygen shows, too. While its overall audience is still small - an average 265,000 total viewers in prime during fourth quarter - Oxygen is up in double digits across demos year over year.
The network unveiled several new TV projects in the works, nearly all in the fun spirit the network has tried to cultivate since its launch. Oxygen also announced its first broadband channel - SheDidWhat.tv, and a social networking site, Oomph.net.
In the reality space, Oxygen has signed deals with some big-name producers for upcoming projects. Go-Go Lucky Productions, the company behind both Laguna Beach and A&E's similarly named Roller Girls, is developing Rodeo Girls, a half-hour docu-soap about female bull-riders.
Magical Elves (Bravo's Project Runway, Top Chef) is developing a half-hour show about five blondes entering the business world. World of Wonder (Bravo's Showbiz Moms and Dads, Oxygen's upcoming Tori & Dean: Inn Love) is developing a half-hour show about Latino actors trying to make it in Hollywood. Ben Silverman's Reveille (ABC's Ugly Betty, NBC's The Office) is developing Adfight, an hour-long reality competition among advertising executives.
Other reality projects in development include Smoke & Mirrors, a docu-soap about female firefighters; Homefield Advantage, a docu-soap about Deion Sanders' wife; Prankstar, a competition to find the next prankster comic; and Ultimate Bodyguard, a docu-soap about a female security guard.
The network is also expanding both its scripted series development with four new shows. Graphic City Limits is an hour-long drama about a woman leading parallel lives; Angry Little Girls is a half-hour animated series based on the book by Lela Lee and produced by Jennifer Love Hewitt; Identical is a half-hour scripted dramedy about twin sisters with different personalities; and Exes is an hour-long scripted drama about feuding divorcees who run a wedding planning business.
Movies in development include Husband For Hire, a comedy about a Latina business woman who must find a husband in 24-hours to gain share in her family business, and Everything But the Girl, a romantic comedy about a woman who falls in love with an amnesiac while fighting corporate takeover in her small town.