They don’t talk about global warming, Afghanistan or the oil spill. They don’t fly reporters down to hurricane zones, war zones or global summits on one topic or the other. There are numerous media outlets for these hefty topics. But not at E!, the network that made Kim Kardashian’s fabulous figure, famous. The people behind E! Network programming believe that consensus around the virtual water cooler is built over light-hearted topics that don’t make people cry. So they focus on “Pop Culture,” because it’s what most people talk about.
It may not be commonly obvious that the E! Network has been around for two decades. For a significant chunk of that history, E! had a tendency to program “specials” on the life of long dead or aging celebrities. That format soon began to fray at the edges and it became the dated brand that no one wanted to date. But lately E! has revamped and rebranded itself as the place for discussing pop culture in a variety of formats. From its cheeky, gossipy, newsy approach on the “Daily 10,” to “The Soup,” and “Chelsea Lately,” E! is attracting larger audiences in the key 18 to 49 demographic, while also generating buzz for “creating celebrities” such as the Kardashians and Kendra.
Behind the re-branding of E! is Suzanne Kolb, a brilliant, branding brain with impressive academic credentials and lots of practical media experience. Thank her if you liked “Dawson’s Creek.” At Style Network, Kolb gave Phat Fashion’s, Kimora the platform to display her life of “fabulousity.” At E! Kolb enthusiastically markets the brand online, on satellite radio and on lots of other places. As a result their web traffic has increased to 86 million page views per month. In 2009, the E! Nnetwork generated more than $200 million in ad revenue
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