While TV channels aimed at female viewers are nothing new, the soon-to-be-launched Viacom Blink! is likely to be exceptional.
One of the first such channels to make its debut in Central and Eastern Europe was Romania’s Acasa TV in February 1998. Operated by CME, it has by all accounts been a resounding success, claiming an audience share of 5.9% in its target group – women aged 18-49 – in 2009.
Much more recently, CME also launched a women’s channel in Slovakia in 2009. Targeting viewers aged 12-54, Television Doma already reaches over half (54%) of the country’s 5.4 million population.
Elsewhere, CTC Media operates a channel named Domashny Network in Russia aimed at women aged 25-60. Its audience share is relatively stable, amounting to 2.8% in its target group in Q1 this year.
Meanwhile in Poland, the national commercial broadcaster TVN’s portfolio includes TVN Style, a channel with a health and beauty focus targeting female viewers.
The difference between these channels (there are others – the list is by no means exhaustive) and Viacom Blink! is the latter’s scale and ambition. Its backers Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) and Endemol have identified a gap in the market and ultimately aim to create a global brand on a par with MTV and Nickelodeon.
Of equal significance is the fact that they have chosen Poland, rather than the US or indeed a West European market, to ‘test drive’ Viacom Blink! This is probably the first time that such an important launch has taken place in the region and an indication of how far the region’s TV industry has come in the last few years.
Indeed, with cable and DTH services now received in around 10 million TV homes in Poland, the market is considered mature enough by the likes of Viacom and Endemol to test out such a channel.
Of course there is no guarantee of success, but the prospects for Viacom Blink! look good, providing it is rolled out gradually in selected markets.