UPFRONT & CENTER: Oxygen Ready to ‘Live Out Loud’ - Broadcasting & Cable

UPFRONT & CENTER: Oxygen Ready to ‘Live Out Loud’

NBC Universal’s Women’s-Targeted Cable Network Unveils Brand Makeover
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New York -- NBC Universal’s Oxygen unveiled a brand makeover Wednesday including the slogan “Live Out Loud.” The changes -- set to be revealed to advertisers next week and to consumers in June -- also included a revised logo with the word “Oxygen” in a light yellow “O” that is slightly askew.

The network’s top executives detailed the rebrand, as well as several new programs in production and development, at a presentation to members of the press Wednesday morning at Soho House here.

Young female-focused Oxygen is making the changes after finding that the network “created a lot of buzz with young women” through shows like Tori & Dean: Inn Love and Bad Girls Club, but failed to get viewers to associate those shows with the network itself, general manager Jason Klarman said.

NBC Universal bought the network for some $900 million last fall, and it has been retooling it since under Bravo/Oxygen president Lauren Zalaznick.

With the rebrand, Oxygen is labeling its audience -- women 18-34 and 18-49 -- “Generation O,” a group it described as “trenders, spenders and recommenders,” meaning that they stay on top of trends, spend money on them and spread the word to their friends.

The Live Out Loud tag line is meant to reflect young women’s desire to have fun and “live life on their own terms.”

And the O’s slight tilt is meant to reflect Oxygen’s understanding that its viewers think “perfection is overrated,” and are “DFW -- down for whatever,” Klarman said.

While the network’s logo at relaunch is currently a light yellow, it will switch among a palette of colors that “anyone would find in their makeup bag,” with the goal of taking Oxygen “out of a pink pastel ghetto and into a sense of real vibrant color.”

Lest it all seem like cutesy marketing-speak, Oxygen’s making the changes after conducting extensive research into its viewers’ psychographics and behaviors, Klarman said. Oxygen’s press presentation was complete with goldfish, orange and yellow flowers and whimsical mobiles featuring its shows characters in clear bubble orbs.

“We are zealots when it comes to branding -- everything looks, smells and feels like this brand to us now and for this demographic that’s underserved, we’re going to superserve them,” he added.

When NBCU bought Oxygen, the company’s executives said the network would become part of a “virtual women’s network” of properties that it could offer to advertisers seeking to reach any slice of a female demographic, and the planned changes reflect an effort to help the network achieve that goal by solidifying its meaning to the ad community, as well as viewers, Zalaznick said.

“It sounds very flaky, but we were really disciplined about it,” she added. “We actually believe that with this disciplined strategy around creativity, we will deliver more revenue.”

In a scheduling tactic that it’s calling “seamless Tuesdays,” Oxygen said it will slate an original episode of one of its unscripted shows Tuesdays at 10 p.m. beginning June 10 and going through 2009.

This spring and summer bring a Bad Girls Club reunion hosted by Star Jones; Oxygen’s 25iest: Power Couples, a special starring Tori Spelling and her husband, Dean McDermott; a new season of that pair’s reality show, Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood; a fourth season of The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency; and Coolio’s Rules, a new reality show chronicling the West Coast rapper’s family life.

Programming chief Amy Introcaso-Davis, who joined Oxygen from Bravo three weeks ago, also announced three new shows in development: Dance Your Ass Off, a competition reality show in which contestants try to lose weight through dance workouts; Glamazons, a reality series featuring four cast-off contestants from NBC’s America’s Got Talent; and Meltdown (working title), a before-and-after look at celebrity collapses.

For complete coverage of the upfronts, click here.

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