Lauren Zalaznick

NBC Universal

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As president of Bravo, Oxygen and NBC Universal's other women's lifestyle networks such as iVillage, Lauren Zalaznick has one of the longest job titles at her company. But her mission is singular: bring "targeted mass" to the legions of advertisers seeking to reach highly desirable groups of females: 18 to 34 and 25 to 54.

"We have a solution to reaching the most women possible of any media conglomerate, but so what? You could just buy one after another after another and buy the mass yourself," says Ms. Zalaznick, 44.

Instead, she likens her recently expanded role to that of a landlord at a mall. "If I'm the owner of three anchor stores -- Bravo, iVillage and Oxygen -- now I need to convince you to go to the mall for the boutiques," she says. "When you think about the value proposition of the true meaning of one-stop shopping, you get a sense of getting an 18-to-54 mass target of women who buy stuff."

NBCU's mass target means more than just pure demo buys, however. After identifying Bravo's audience of tech-savvy, big-spending 18- to 34-year-old consumers as "affluencers" last year, Ms. Zalaznick has been working with each of her networks' research teams to identify key behavioral patterns and spending habits.

Recent NBCU acquisition Oxygen, for example, is being rebuilt around "Generation O," or "trenders, spenders and recommenders," with similar assignations for each of NBCU's digital and on-air brands. "You want people who are activated to use the product of a life stage rather than a demo stage," she says. "It's about what they do in their lives -- their behaviors."

Jeff Gaspin, president-chief operating officer of NBCU's Universal Television Group, says Ms. Zalaznick's ability to be "equal parts programmer and marketer" has made her one of the company's most valuable assets.

"Lauren consumes more media than anybody I know. Her pulse on culture is just terrific," Mr. Gaspin says. "We put a lot on her plate, making sure she has the resources to pull it off and just the emotional support to give her the confidence to make some difficult decisions."

Ms. Zalaznick's primary role as president of Bravo Media left her one unexpectedly difficult decision recently when the Weinstein Co. sold the rights to the network's hit series "Project Runway" to Lifetime starting this November. But she points to the ratings and online growth of other franchises such as "Top Chef" and "Real Housewives" as proof that Bravo can still "make it work" without "Runway." "Our success story is a long-term business strategy," she says. "It's not just about one night of the week, one show."
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