Scripps Viewer SpendingClaims Are on the Money

Upfront pitch tabs new research, with HGTV topping consumer list

Scripps Networks Interactive has news for advertisers this spring.

In past years the company, which specializes in building lifestyle networks such as HGTV, DIY (Do It Yourself) Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Travel Channel, has pitched the idea that advertising to its highly engaged, high-income audiences would surely result in sales.

Now, Scripps says it has proof that its networks make cash registers ring.

“For years we’ve been talking about these lifestyle networks attracting an upscale audience,” says Steve Gigliotti, president of ad sales and digital at Scripps Networks Interactive. “When you filter the audience through $100,000 income households and $150,000 income households, our networks are always clustered at the top of the pile.

“These audiences are very receptive to advertising. Receptivity very positive, upscale audience very positive, but the one piece missing out of that formula, the leap of faith if you will, that I was asking the [advertisers] to take was that the consumer was moved to spend their money,” Gigliotti says.

Recent research made possible by the merger of Simmons and Experian, which tabulates data on media consumption and expenditures by consumers, provides information on what discretionary items consumers spend their money on.

If you are Scripps and you have been promising a big influence on consumer spending, “you hold your breath and go, ‘Well, we’ve been saying for years A plus B probably equals C,” Gigliotti says. “How do we come out?”

0319 Upfront Central chart

The numbers are strong for Scripps. “I’m pleased to tell you that four of our networks are in the top seven in this category, so this year we’re going to show everybody the proof of the pudding,” Gigliotti says.

The data did in fact find that the list of networks with viewers in the 25-54-year-old demo with the highest “discretionary spend” on non-essential products and services was headed by three Scripps networks in the top four spots. HGTV landed on top with an average of $16,486 per viewer per year. DIY was third with $14,931 and Food fourth with $14,826. (Bravo, which also pushes its high-income, in" uential audience, was second with $14,953 in discretionary income.)

As a group, the Scripps networks averaged a top-ranking $15,079 in discretionary spending per viewer annually, followed by Disney with $14,800, Comcast/NBC with $14,750, Fox Cable with $14,133, Discovery with $14,097, Turner with $14,000, AMC with $13,697, A+ETN with $13,639 and Viacom with $13,337.

The data should help ensure that Scripps has another strong upfront. “The marketplace last year was a record marketplace. I think that will happen again,” says Gigliotti.

For one thing, Gigliotti adds, the economy appears to be moving in a positive direction, which is good for the market. “Secondly, you want to look at the choices that advertisers have to make, and I think we saw last year a lot of advertisers moving money into the cable upfront and the broadcast upfront because it helps make the overall deal more efficient,” he says. “I think that will continue to happen, maybe not to the same degree, but it will continue to happen because there’s still a need, even in this positive economy, there’s still that desire to be as effective and as ROI-focused as you can be. So advertisers are still going to look for ways to stretch their money, be a little more targeted, and that’s the advantage that cable brings to the overall conversation.”

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