Live from #MediaInsight: We TV - The Effect of Indulgence in Women's Lives and On TV

Carole Smith, VP Research, WE TV, spoke today at the Media Insights & Engagement Conference in Miami, about captivating women and the emotional role of indulgent TV.

Women are breadwinners and their responsibilities have been ramped up with more pressure on them and also still taking care of children and households. This creates a need for an outlet, a fantasy world that allows for an escape and it doesn't need to be a very big or expensive indulgences.

Sweets, long hot baths, ordering take-out, going out with husbands or girlfriends are all topping the list of desired indulgences and pampering. They're more likely to indulge in new tech or expansive food rather than expensive clothes or accessories with handbags being an exception.

But in a world without consequences Women would indulge in getting away but also getting even. Women were brought up to be nice, they want space to be selfish and be frank. They're fantasy selves would be glamorous, wealthy, tough and maybe a little naughty.

Captivating shows are a well-earned break for viewers. Television is the foremost desired indulgence for women.

Women want to watch relationships that are real but even "reality" should be amusing and an escape from their daily lives. The more negative and sordid the show, the more pleasure in bingeing.

Women feel better when they see these glorious basket cases and their lives all of a sudden don't seem as bad. In order, to be validate the viewers' thoughts you do need at least one character to be the grounding figure to bring the sound of reason, i.e, Khloe Kardishian, Toni Braxton.

It's great to see outrageous settings for real emotions in scripted TV - full pedal, roller-coaster, no chance to catch your breath, edge of your seat.Think: Homeland, Scandal

Women do not want to see victims on TV, but they desire vulnerability, two different things.

Emotionally intense, for non-scripted and reality, women want to get totally caught up but also want to connect.

They love to see control and the struggle for power. There is always a price to pay for ambition and other selfish actions.

Forbidden ideas and emotions are the sweet spot of scripted and reality TV for these viewers.

Valerie RussoFormerly a senior copy editor at Thomson Reuters, a research editor at AOL,  and a senior web publicist at Hachette Book GroupValerie M. Russo is editor at large of The Front End of Innovation BlogThe Market Research Event BlogThe World Future Trends Tumblr, the Digital Impact Blog, and also blogs at 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 or @Literanista.

Valerie M. Russo Evans

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