Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Press Release Translations: Part 1

I’ve thought about doing something like this for quite a while but I suppose time and the lack of motivation has kept me from doing so.

Anyway a pet peeve of mine is a press release with heavy PR spin. They bother me a lot (sometimes to the point where it is a little bit irrational and unjustified). I’m the kind of person who likes for things to be cut and dry so I need a press release to tell me what the title says it’s going to tell me (I also need them for ratings of hard to find shows).

So with nearly all press releases, the most pertinent information you need to know is in the first 2 paragraphs (unless multiple shows are being detailed and then it’s the first 1-2 paragraphs under the title of each show). The rest of the press release is standard filler about the show, the production company and the network and it’s generally not important unless you care about that but if you read one from the same network then you’ve read them all.

Anyway my issue isn’t with the filler. It’s with the spin so this post is to take the pertinent info and translate it from PR speak to common sense and truth (because although it’s a PR department’s job to fool people into thinking they are doing something, they don’t fool me and I have nothing better to do).

Here’s how this will go. I will link the full press release here, then I will take the important lines, quote them and then translate them. Simple as that. This first one is about Oxygen touting their ratings successes in the 3rd quarter (July-September) of this year.

Behind the strength of Oxygen Media's diverse programming slate, the network delivered a strong third quarter ranking #20 among all ad-supported cable entertainment networks in its key demo of women 18-34, according to Nielsen. Fueled by a unique slate of original series such as "I'm Having Their Baby," "The Glee Project," "Girlfriend Confidential: LA" and "Bad Girls Club," the network averaged 405,000 total viewers. In addition, this month marked Oxygen's youngest September ever with a median age of 35.3 (1.4 years younger than September 2011).

Translation: We premiered an awful lot of shows the last 3 months and as a result our ratings sucked less by default since there were fewer reruns on. Also, younger women like our shows which is great because that’s who we get paid to target. I do hope you don’t mind that we omitted All the Right Moves. Four shows are more than enough to mention and besides we are going to pretend like that show did not exist.

Third quarter saw the thought-provoking docu-series "I'm Having Their Baby" strike a chord with viewers and become Oxygen's highest rated new series of 2012 averaging 806,000 total viewers, 381,000 adults 18-34 and 324,000 women 18-34 on a Live +7 basis. This marked double-digit growth across all key demos with a 30 percent increase among women 18-34, 29 percent increase among total viewers and 16 percent increase among adults 18-34, compared to the same time period last year. Behind the series, Oxygen was the #3 cable network on Mondays at 11pm in women 18-34 throughout the season. This led the network to quickly greenlight season two, which is currently in production and will premiere in 2013.

Translation: This show here. Oh my goodness we were thrilled with these numbers. 806,000 viewers at 11pm after Bad Girls Club and this show actually isn’t trashy? We’ve been trying for ages to find a show that could do this. There was no hesitation about giving this show another season. Well ok not exactly 806,000 viewers all at one time. They just look fantastic after you give people 7 days to watch the show on their DVR’s. People have busy lives you know and 11pm is late.

Increasing momentum, the critically acclaimed second season of "The Glee Project" landed winner Blake Jenner a seven episode role on "Glee" and ended with a series finale season high of 821,000 total viewers.

Translation: The finale got 821,000 viewers and that’s something for us. We don’t need to mention all of those sub-400,000 viewer episodes in the weeks before this. Those are ugly and this is a happy time. We’re also not going to mention any growth from the first season because we tried crunching numbers for 3 days and came up with nothing.

Amplifying such success, fan-favorite "Bad Girls Club" remained dominant in its ninth season averaging 2.2 million total viewers, 1.4 million adults 18-49, and one million women 18-49 on a Live +7 basis. Behind season nine, Oxygen is the #1 cable network on Mondays at 10pm, out-delivering ABC and CBS in women 18-34.

Translation: Bad Girls Club, Bad Girls Club, Bad Girls Club. Well to be honest we are not immensely thrilled with how this season turned out but hey we always have an off season anyway. Still we are just going to throw in these DVR numbers just to tell you that we can get 2 million people to watch, just mostly all not at one time…but don’t bring up the season 8 reunion please. Let us be great with this.

To top off the third quarter, the series premiere of "Girlfriend Confidential: LA" (9/3/12) strengthened the female-skewing channel's Monday night lineup propelling Oxygen as a top five cable entertainment network among women 18-34 in the 11pm hour. 

Translation: Oh who needs to be burdened with silly things like numbers. We’ve already put enough of those in this release. Who the hell are we kidding here? We know why this only got a byline at the end with no specifics. It doesn’t even have 50% retention from Bad Girls Club but if we don’t say that then nobody can take a guess and get the real answer. Besides who is going to read this much anyway? Also who wants to admit to getting beat by reruns on VH1, stupid football, Chelsea “the horse” Lately and those fake news shows on Comedy Central?


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