What they knew about the audience was that they were affluent, creatives, intelligent, optimists but then Sundance changed their programming adding more ads and movies so they began studying their potential audience. They didn't want to be perceived as artsy and boring.
They began doing deep viewing studies and competitive intelligence.
Non viewers were unfamiliar with the brand and over all outside of the films most people were unfamiliar with the channel. Yet most people thought highly of the Sundance brand.
What they found was that space was wide open and rich with opportunity to build exciting, intelligent and provocative programming. The relationship between the core audience and expansion was referred to as Curve Surfers both curious and connected TV viewers who influenced one another.
The key was to find common areas of overlapping interests: unpredictable, off beat, independent, cutting edge, daring, provocative programming.
This year they invested heavily in critical dramas like The Return and Red Road, Restless... They also have their unscripted shows. It's not just storytelling but how the story is told.
Their core audience likes to discover so the marketing teams use Reddit and social media to allow the audience to engage and share.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Formerly a senior copy editor at Thomson Reuters, a research editor at AOL, and a senior web publicist at Hachette Book Group, Valerie M. Russo is editor at large of The Front End of Innovation Blog, The Market Research Event Blog, The World Future Trends Tumblr, the Digital Impact Blog, and also blogs at Literanista.net. She is the innovation lead and senior social media strategist for the Marketing and Business Strategy Division of the Institute for International Research, an Informa LLC., and her poetry was published in Regrets Only on sale at the MOMA Gift Shop. Her background is in Anthropology and English Literature. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or @Literanista.