Name: Tricia Melton

Challenges 2 with Tricia Melton

Challenges 2 with Tricia Melton


Tricia Melton: One of the marketing challenges that I’ve had over the years was to bring a different type of show to a network that is already very well-known for one thing.  TNT, it’s a network for drama but it was a network that was really well-known for crime procedurals. Things like The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles, very high-rated but they draw very specific audience of women who like those types of shows and a little bit of the older side of the demo.

Tricia Melton: The network really needed to diversify the audience, interchange the perception that that’s not the only kind of drama that TNT provided. This is not a landscape where you have got a golden age of drama variety like Breaking Bad, you’ve got Game of Thrones you got really amazing dramas.

Tricia Melton: TNT which was branded, “We know drama,” was sort of losing the perception game. We went and partnered with Frank Darabont, the creator of The Walking Dead. We went to production for this amazing show called Mob City.

Tricia Melton: It was war, it had John Bernthal from The Walking dead in it. It had all the right ingredients. It was beautifully shot. It did an amazing marketing campaign for this show. It was beautiful, still to this day, it was one that I am personally proud of what a great campaign this was.

Tricia Melton: Premiere of the show, to crickets, crickets. It did not do well at all. In the television landscape, it was pretty much fail. The learning there was— and it was definitely learning, you can’t just flip the switch. You can’t just create a show and put it on a network that has an audience of women who like a very specific type of light and frothy crime procedurals, where there is a beginning a middle and an end. Bad guys get caught, the story closes up nicely and it is called episodic. Closes up very nicely every week and then create this very, very different war, gritty period drama and expect that they are just going to change their taste.

Tricia Melton: The learning was, we had research that was telling us this. We were obviously using a lot of consumer research, digitally, focused groups and dial testing. We had research that we knew this was not appealing to the audience that we had.

Tricia Melton: The belief was we will be able to get them then. The learning in that was, listen to your gut. Listen to the research when it is telling you what you do not want to hear. You cannot fit a square peg in a round hole. I do not care how good the packaging on the square peg is.

Success 2 with Tricia Melton

Success 2 with Tricia Melton


@oxygen was founded by @glaybourne, Marcy Carsey & @Oprah #Insights [Click to Tweet]

From @FoodNetwork to @lifetimetv to @TBSNetwork. Tricia Melton has had a broad experience in her media based career [Click to Tweet]

Tricia Melton’s role was to reshape @TBSNetwork from a general entertainment network into a true comedy brand [Click to Tweet]

Tricia Melton: I left Food Network to go to another start-up. I went and launched Oxygen with Gerry Laybourne, Marcy Carsey from Carsey-Werner-Mandabach and Oprah. They were the three initial founders of that and that was— It was a start-up on steroids. It had huge profile in the cable world, in the media world.

Tricia Melton: It was wildly chaotic and incredibly creative and maddening and fascinating and everything that a big media start-up is. I learned a ton of both what to do and what not to do during that saga.

Tricia Melton: Then I decided that I had worked on developing brand start-ups, young brands and I wanted to move a more established brand. Lifetime approached me. Because I got a lot of experience marketing to women and younger women, a very different audience.

Tricia Melton: I went to Lifetime, it was really a brief window because I was then recruited to come down and head up marketing for TBS in Atlanta. TBS was undergoing a major rebrand. They were moving from a general entertainment, TBS superstation, where they were known for Brave Spaceball and the Andy Griffith show to becoming a true branded comedy brand.

Tricia Melton: I was part of that relaunch TBS as a comedy brand. Launched Sex and the City as a virtual original on TBS, which that wasn’t right. And continue to grow that brand and then over the course of about ten years, I added TNT to my portfolio of responsibility and Tender Classic movies. I became responsible for all the branding, all of marketing, the media, the social media, digital marketing strategy for all those brands.

Tricia Melton: My definition of success is professionally— when I’m with a company, when I’m working in an environment, where I am challenged, my curiosity is constantly being peaked, where I am operating with energy and passion and conviction across the board. And that is working and that were winning and there’s amount of actual success against the goals and against the visions of the company that were actually moving the ball forward.

Tricia Melton: But were doing it in a way that is deeply creative and that is innovative and that we’re doing things that haven’t been done before. That’s what I am professionally, I think that most fulfilled.

Challenges 1 with Tricia Melton

Challenges 1 with Tricia Melton


Tricia Melton helped launch the first ad targeted to women to run during the Superbowl #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Oxygen was ahead of its time; launching its website before the TV Channel #Insights [Click to Tweet]

“You gotta know that your product is ready.” – Tricia Melton #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Tricia Melton: When we were launching Oxygen, it was an incredibly interesting experience because we were launching that network right before the Bubble burst, the first one. The company itself was built on this idea of convergence but most people do not remember was that Oxygen launched before it launched the Linear Network.

Tricia Melton: It was a company that was ahead of its time, really. Social media did not really exist as we know it today. If it had, I think Oxygen’s trajectory would have been a little different. It truly was a company that was ahead of its time. We launched the websites first.

Tricia Melton: Then we had a big launch of the Linear Network, very high profile launched with an ad in the Super bowl. It was the first ad targeted to women, specifically targeted women that ever ran in the Super bowl. Very high profile, very big media, a lot of press attention around that, which strategically and creatively was a smart thing to do.

Tricia Melton: The challenge was the Network was not ready. The premise of Oxygen was that we were going to create twenty-four hours of original programming for women and that it was going to be very different from Lifetime, who really sort of owned the women’s TV and the landscape.

Tricia Melton: The challenge with that is it takes an enormous amount of production, content and operational facilitation to program a twenty-four hour of completely original network. The Network wasn’t ready. The product wasn’t there. You had the front-end, it looked really good but the back-end, not so good.

Tricia Melton: That was a real moment of pivot and for me, the interesting thing in that story was you got to know that your product is ready. I was very focused on the consumer market side of making sure we have a brand vision articulated, that we had the best possible strategy and creative execution of that brand and we did.

Tricia Melton: The creative campaign that we put together won awards. It was incredibly popular from a consumer perspective. The problem was I did not have a product to feed it to. That became a process. That became, as many start-ups have that became a scramble of, “What’s the product? How do we get product that actually fulfills on the mission?” Because the interesting thing was the mission was a good mission, the vision was a good mission, the position was a good position but the product just was not there.

Success 1 with Tricia Melton

Success 1 with Tricia Melton


#TriciaMelton helped build up @FoodNetwork from an early #stir&simmer stage #Insights [Click to Tweet]

[email protected] got his start, fact checking on @ChannelOneNews #Insights [Click to Tweet]

[email protected] delivers to 7.2M kids in 12k high schools & middle schools #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Tricia Melton: I was born in Birmingham, which compared to New York, seems like a small town. It’s not that small. It’s a real city. I grew up there. I left immediately after college and went to Knoxville Tennessee, which is a smaller town than Birmingham. I ended up going to work for a really interesting media entrepreneur, a really innovated guy called Chris Whittle.

Tricia Melton: Chris Whittle was in the place based media business. Back in the day, he was he was doing crazy things like creating these campus posters, newsletters, and colleges and getting advertising for them.

Tricia Melton: He was creating like comics that went in Laundromats and getting PNG to advertise for them. His whole vision was advertising can live anywhere. Content can live anywhere. He was ahead of his time but it was all very physically placed. I went to work for him to do something that was very innovative and very controversial.

Tricia Melton: I launched a news program for high school kids called Channel One News. It was a 12,000 high school and middles schools across the country to 7.2 million kids every day. It was 10 minutes of news and 2minutes of advertising and it was completely free to the school, along with the satellite dish in the roof, the head unit and TVs for every classroom. It was paid with two minutes of commercials, think Nike, think Levis and think Pepsi because it was delivering an audience, a huge audience of teens.

Tricia Melton: This became very, very controversial because it’s in schools. Teachers unions came out swimming and it was became this very interesting debate should there be advertising in schools. It didn’t stop Whittle forged ahead. It was a tremendously a successful program.

Tricia Melton: As a matter of face, a little fun fact, Anderson Cooper got his start on Channel One. Anderson Cooper was a fact checker on Channel One, when he was twenty-two years old and then became a reporter. That was his first reporting journalistic assignment because he went to Myanmar for Channel One.  Lisa Lane, also by the way got her start on Channel One.

Tricia Melton: That’s how I get my start in the media business. I was fascinated and Chris was in an incredibly dynamic media and entrepreneur that’s where I began in this crazy media world.

Tricia Melton: From there, I moved to New York, I moved to New York with Channel One. As that business continue to grow, it was eventually sold to Prime Media. At that point that I moved I branched into Cable.

Tricia Melton: Cable was in the apex of its growth. I went to Food Network when it was still a relatively young network and it had grown big enough to move from that instructional cooking channel to a network and a brand that was much more entertainment focuses, it was much more about building a brand around celebrity chefs and about the entertainment value. We moved it away from what I call, “Stir and simmer,” branding. That was also incredibly dynamic very big growth period for cable at that time.