Logo’s Programming Shift and the Future of AfterElton

Yesterday our parent company Logo issued a press release outlining its evolving programming focus. The network is developing a slate that reflects “gays and lesbians’ increasing integration into mainstream culture today and their desire for shows that appeal to their multiple interests.”

A lot of folks have contacted me privately and asked how this might affect AfterElton moving forward. I want to assure longtime readers that this does not represent a major shift from where we are as a site right now.

AfterElton is first and foremost an entertainment website. Our primary obligation is to entertain our readers and engage our community members. If that meant, God forbid, suddenly you guys developed a passionate interest in NASCAR, then we would probably cover it. Please don’t! Oy. But if you did, our talented writers (snicks, Ed, Louis, Brian et. al.) would endeavor to offer a gay take on it – as we do with pretty much everything else we cover. I mean, come on, we’re a bunch of fops!

Sure, gay stories and projects continue to be an interest for us, but after more than five years on the beat that’s no longer all we’re interested in. And that holds true for our readers as well. AfterElton isn’t just a site for gay men, and hasn’t been for some time. It might surprise you to know that almost half of our readers are female. And over half of our readers come from a household with children. Our readers are a diverse crowd!

Truthfully, we’ve known for over a year that Logo was planning on broadening its programming focus. And we’ve already adapted, broadening our own coverage a bit and experimenting with content and features that our writers are interested in (gay angle or not) to see what can find an audience. Everything is an experiment, of course. If we try something that our readers simply aren’t interested in we get almost immediate feedback – and change course accordingly.

The result of our tinkering this past year and broadening our horizons a bit? Substantial growth in site membership and traffic. Honestly, I’m very happy with AfterElton’s evolution. And Logo is as well. So much so that they are devoting substantial resources in supporting and upgrading the site.

Are further changes in store? Probably. Nothing drastic, but change is inevitable. But I want to assure you that we aren’t going anywhere – the voices you love here will remain. AfterElton isn’t suddenly going to become something vastly different and alienating to our regular readers.

Personally, I’m excited about Logo’s programming shift and the opportunities it brings us. Full text of yesterday’s press release below…

 

Logo Amplifies Culture Shift With Expanded Programming

New Development Slate Includes “The Baby Wait,” “Wiseguys,” “Design My Dog” and “Eden Wood’s World”

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 21, 2012 — Logo is evolving its programming focus with new series and development deals

In the 6 years since Logo launched, there has been a seismic shift in culture and the network’s new programming slate reflects that. From the push for marriage equality, to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and even the mass appeal of broadcast TV shows like “Modern Family” all signal a significant movement in today’s culture where “out” characters are celebrated for their success and values and the majority of gays and lesbians define themselves by multi-dimensional notions other than purely on their sexual orientation.

“Culturally, we’re past the tipping point. For gays and lesbians, it’s part of who they are, but they don’t lead with it, because many are leading fully integrated, mainstream lives,” said Lisa Sherman, Executive Vice President of Logo. “Our goal at Logo has always been to honestly reflect our viewers’ lives. We’re now reinforcing our commitment to them with programming that truly mirrors how many of them are living and want to be entertained today.”

Further evidence comes from a new study Logo conducted in partnership with Starcom Mediavest Group and its Beyond Demographics(TM) series. Coming out this spring, the identity research gives light on how lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender community lives today. For instance, early findings show that 53 percent conveyed that Gays don’t hide being gay, but that for them it’s not a priority to showcase it. And only 30 percent indicated that they preferred living and socializing in exclusively gay and lesbian communities.

“The gay community continues to evolve in size, influence and identity,” said Starcom Mediavest’s Esther Franklin, EVP, head of SMG Americas Experience Strategy. “Beyond Demographics(TM) allows us to understand the needs of this critical community as they emerge and to paint a clearer, more specific picture of what’s meaningful and relevant in their lives.”

Ellen Rakieten (Ellen Rakieten Productions), Ken Mok (10X10 Productions, “America’s Next Top Model”) and J. Paul Buscemi, Tony DiSanto and Liz Gately (DiGa), Go Go Luckey Entertainment (“Laguna Beach”) and T-Group (“Storage Hunters”) have all signed on to produce a diverse array of projects for Logo, covering docu-reality and competition genres. Topics cover the ambition behind children’s beauty pageants, the stress of adopting a child, the dramas of running a West Hollywood family business and their passion for pets. The network is also expanding the mission behind its hit series “RuPaul’s Drag U,” produced by World of Wonder, while adding programming that covers and comments on the pop culture that Logo viewers love.

“These new projects are anchored by stories that go deep into today’s world: Eden Wood has already accomplished more than most of us will in our entire lives. Wanting to start a family is a universal desire, no matter who you love. Families in business together during a recession could be the ultimate drama. And pets are now surrogate children for a lot of people — who go to great lengths to celebrate them,” said Brent Zacky, Senior Vice President, Original Programming, Logo. “An expanded vision for ‘RuPaul’s Drag U’ and shows that review the more notorious elements of pop culture fill out our diverse menu of themes that will further engage and grow Logo’s audience.”

Details on greenlit shows in production HERE.

ABOUT LOGO

Logo celebrates one-of-a-kind personalities, unconventional stories and discovering what’s next – all through a mix of original and acquired entertainment that’s outrageous, smart, and inclusive. Entertaining a social, savvy audience of gay trendsetters, Logo also attracts a straight audience that wants to be ahead of the curve. Launched in 2005, Logo is in nearly 50 million homes across the United States, and is complemented by a federation of online properties, including LogoTV.com, NewNowNext.com, AfterEllen.com, AfterElton.com, and DowneLink.com. Logo is part of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), which features a roster of popular and highly targeted brands that include MTV, Comedy Central, VH1 and Spike TV.

 

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