Women have long been the favorite targets of television networks, in part because traditional roles kept wives and mothers at home during more hours of the day when small screens first found their way into homes. While more women now work outside of their homes than ever before, they still remain far more likely than men to stay home with infants and young children.

But even more importantly—at least to advertisers—financial studies consistently find that women control the finances in the majority of family households in the US. It makes sense to talk to the person who holds the purse strings.

Obviously, male-targeted channels are fairly rare on basic cable and beyond, save for the testosterone-soaked ESPN and Speed Networks, and the somewhat more erratically-programmed Spike Network.

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The History Channel has been quietly focusing on men for years, however, with programming grounded in military and war history (the genesis of the awkward nickname “The Hitler Channel,” for a while). More recently, the network shifted its focus to target an even younger male audience with a flood of reality programming –and even an updated, more straightforward name: “History.”

Unfortunately, this shift also caused some of History’s older—and more affluent—viewers to wander elsewhere. Until H2, that is.

H2 is a new offshoot channel where the kind of programs the History Channel used to show will be broadcast, along with the next generation of original programming designed to re-engage the network’s old (pun intended) audience—a group that remains a prime target for financial services and automotive advertisers. Interestingly enough, the approach seem to be working!

So what can we learn from H2?

To avoid lukewarm results, avoid overly broad targeting. Going after “men” as a demographic doesn’t work, since it’s often a matter of hit or miss when it comes to figuring out what men actually want to watch. By focusing in on a particular segment of the population—established, affluent males in their mid-thirties and older—H2 stands a much better chance of making and keeping that connection.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And if you fixed it and it broke, well . . . Go back to the basics. While the new “History” approach—complete with reality shows—has brought in younger male viewers, it may fail to elevate itself as the advertising location of choice for brands who court younger men, especially since those brands can get more bang for their buck in places like MTV and ESPN. For brands who court older men, the new tone simply isn’t a fit. Enter H2: a better place for them to live and connect.

Build on successful formulas to provide additional value. H2 also offers original programming that builds on an already successful stable of shows—programming that offers a similar kind of appeal for a similar audience. This builds on both of the points above, and yet continues to cater to the target audience. While experimenting makes sense, it shouldn’t move you away from what makes you compelling.

Time will tell if H2 continues to engage its “old-new” audience. Who knows? Maybe H2 is on the leading edge of a targeting trend. Will you be watching?