This September, season seven of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia premiered to the shows highest ratings ever, 2.28 million viewers. The show has run under the auspices of Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, and Charlie Day since 2005, when the three friends pitched a short video they made in their apartment complex to the FX network. The show follows the exploits of “the Gang,” a group of five Philadelphia residents who co-own a run down bar.
FX, which stands for Fox Extended, is one of the many subsidiaries owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, which also owns such cable channels as FUEL, Speed, and the National Geographic Channel. In turn, the Fox Entertainment Group is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, currently one of the largest multinational media conglomerates on the planet. This group, with assets in book publishing, magazines, newspapers, radio, sports teams, film and television studios, and websites, is currently ranked second to Disney as the world’s largest media conglomerate in terms of revenue.
As an employee of FX tasked with coming up with a way to increase the ratings and broaden the audience of It’s Always Sunny, using any of the assets at News Corp’s disposal, I would set to work through cross-promotion. Cross-promotion is a synergetic principle used by conglomerates to benefit their subsidiaries. Specifically, cross-promotion gives exposure to a product across other media that a conglomerate owns.
In this case, I would look for logical ways to appeal to the “males aged 18-49 demographic” that the show desires. Since Fox Entertainment Group owns a variety of cable channels tailoring to this same market, I would advertise commercials on these channels emphasizing the male gang member’s humorous antagonism towards each other. Fox Sports Net and FUEL tailor to those who watch a variety of diverse sports, including the traditional football and baseball, but also to “extreme sports” such as motocross and surfing. These two channels alone narrowcast to a specific demographic, the 18-49 aged males that It’s Always Sunny was made for!
However, I was also tasked with broadening the audience, which requires tailoring the show to a female audience, seeing as the show wouldn’t play well to an older demographic. Also, its M for mature rating prevents a younger audience from viewing it, however interested they may be. Therefore, I would create advertisements exemplifying the female characters, Deandra and Artemis, dealing with the gang’s mishaps. Seeing as News Corp doesn’t offer any magazines or cable channels tailoring specifically towards women, I figure the best approach would be to advertise spots during the FOX networks shows with the largest woman demographics. These shows include American Idol, X Factor, and So You Think You Can Dance? In doing this, I will have opened the potential for an increased and more diverse audience by tailoring the show to specific demographics.