Is Older, Cooler? Interview with RLTV’s Roy Ennis

With Mindshare’s new Culture Vulture study noting a new trend – a Boomaissance where older is cooler - it may be RLTV’s golden hour. RLTV’s General Manager, Roy Ennis, describes his own career path, his network and the opportunities for advertisers.

“I'm an Accounting guy originally,” notes Ennis. But his career path soon took him into television, specifically into TV Documentary production. This led into a long career at National Geographic TV where he became their first SVP of Production Operations and Finance.  Now, as GM of RLTV, his mission is to insure that RLTV, as he explains, “serves the needs of mature, experienced and knowledgeable audiences with information and entertainment that inspires them and enhances perceptions of aging. To be a network that is immersive, engaging and empowering through advocacy, aspiration, and entertainment.”

Charlene Weisler: What do you see as the greatest opportunities for the network?
Roy Ennis: We are focused on non-traditional viewership growth through Live Streaming, Syndication Partnerships and Print/Digital Partnerships through the acquisition of talent and programming with strong social media, prior exposure and memberships. Based on the demo’s increasing usage of Facebook/Digital, Multimedia device ownership combined with a continued commitment to Traditional TV viewing. We actually have limited direct competition for the demo “on mission” in the linear space.  While the race is on to build a presence in the nonlinear world, and to monetize that presence, we have an opportunity to further leverage our traditional base and expand our mission offerings and take a leadership role in providing diverse content.  

Charlene Weisler: What are the greatest challenges for your network and how will you overcome these challenges?

Roy Ennis: Currently we have a lack of a strong Digital footprint and we need to increase our traditional distribution growth. With the lack of a strong Digital footprint, we intend to leverage the value of our traditional platform to incentivize others who share our mission values to grow a base.  These like-minded partners will come from Publishing, Digital or just membership based organizations and we’ll jointly use the power of platforms such as Facebook Live and Twitter along with Print and Cable to build the footprint. When it comes to growing our traditional distribution, we need to be successful in penetrating the non-traditional platforms, create value for our mission programming/campaigns, be relevant and be diverse

Charlene Weisler:     What makes your audience unique?

Roy Ennis: Our audience shares one of the most natural of common interest, Aging Bewilderment. They participate in Digital Media in addition to Traditional TV like no others. And remember, TV is still the dominant platform. In addition, our audience represents over 50% of Consumer Spending and they control of over 75% of US Wealth.  

Charlene Weisler:  Older adults can be a hard sell for advertisers. How can you demonstrate the value your audience has for an advertiser?

Roy Ennis: Advertisers should know the size of our audience’s Consumer Spending, their loyalty to TV as a platform (they still appointment view). They also have increasing growth in Digital Media usage and they remain the household decision makers for a range of purchases.

Charlene Weisler:     How do you define television?

Roy Ennis: There is so much going on I’d define it as the transmission of video (used very broadly) to a receiving screen.  Today I believe it is largely associated with the “in-home” delivery platform, where “home” can be a residence, school, church, business (such as a club or bar, etc.).  Television now provides a multi-screen home environment with remote capabilities.

Charlene Weisler:  Where do you see television in the media ecosystem five years from now? Will it still be a dominant force?

Roy Ennis: I still see the “in-home” delivery platform as dominant in five years, but delivery evolving to “device” versus “home”.  However, similar to the Movie Experience I think the in-home TV experience still attracts a substantial following for the in person social engagement; whether it be live events, romantic movies with couples, or watching that premiere or finale with you buddies/girlfriends, though the timing will be at your leisure.

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