HGTV Analysis

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

HGTV runs all original programming, almost all in half-hour formats. The half-hour programs are usually scheduled back to back, creating one-hour blocks with a natural break in between. The programming is safe and lulling, as is the schedule, which subtly leads viewers through the night and the week with little disruption.

Mondays have become an HGTV showcase night, with new signature programming, while on Fridays, HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL runs all the way from 8 to 11.

Tuesday through Thursday mixes it up with real estate and property-improvement programming. Features the “First Time Homeowners” block from 8 to 9PM, HOUSE HUNTERS or HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL run each night, but at different times each night.

Saturday is home-design focused, and Sunday features specials and Mike Holmes’ programming, thereby drawing more men to Sunday nights.

HGTV has become adept at providing viewers with “sneak peaks,” premiering one or two episodes in advance of new programs’ scheduled releases.  This serves to create buzz around new programming while giving viewers an impression of intimacy with the network.

DECEMBER 2011 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / December 2011 vs. December 2010  (% Change)

HH

W18-49

W25-54

Monday 8-11pm

 0%

3%

 4%

Tuesday 8-11pm

-20%

-13%

 -9%

Wednesday 8-11pm

 8%

 24%

35%

Thursday 8-11pm

-12%

-13%

-11%

Friday 8-11pm

 12%

 7%

11%

Saturday 8-11pm

-27%

-24%

-22%

Sunday 8-11pm

 -12%

 -8%

-9%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

-8%

-5%

 -2%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

DECEMBER 2011: A somewhat tepid year came to a quiet close for HGTV. December 2011, like December 2010 before it, pulled the lowest rated month of the year among women 25-54. These core ratings were off by two percent this December vs. last, and on average 2011’s women 25-54 ratings fell by two percent vs. 2010. The small drops seem insignificant, but HGTV was not able to increase its primetime women 25-54 ratings for any month of 2011.

HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL are still carrying the network with the lions’ share of the primetime line-up, and have started to sag under the burden. This December they accounted for 46% of the primetime schedule. Women 25-54 ratings vs. last year were off by 2% for HOUSE HUNTERS and nearly 9% for HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL. In fact, all of the returning programs from last year, except flat COLOR SPLASH, were down.  “First-Time Homeowners Block” programs PROPERTY VIRGINS and MY FIRST PLACE fell by 16% and 7% respectively. HOLMES INSPECTION also tripped up, dropping 8% of men and 17% of women 25-54.

HGTV recognized that its old programming was getting, well, old, and introduced a long list of new programming this year. That programming plus a slew of specials is what help keep the bottom line in tow.

Three specials, SELLING SPELLING MANOR, WHITE HOUSE CHRISTMAS and CELEBRITY HOLIDAY HOMES pulled the best average HH ratings of the month. New program PROPERTY BROTHERS was right behind them, and was by far the best rated regularly scheduled program on households, women and adults. The program was responsible for that nice 35% Wednesday night jump you can see in the chart above. PROPERTY BROTHERS breaks the traditional HGTV half-hour mold – it is 60 minutes long.  Look for more hour-long programs on HGTV in the future.

HOLMES INSPECTION, the other hour-long program on HGTV, pulled in the best male ratings on the net, but the competition for that tile isn’t very fierce. HGTV has an opportunity to bring in new male viewers, particularly on Sunday nights where Mike Holmes’ programming reigns, but has not yet taken its chance. HOLMES does well with women as well, and this month its women 25-54 ratings topped the HOUSE HUNTERS’ benchmark. The other programs to come out ahead of that benchmark were SELLING LA and SELLING NY.

Programs that performed below the HOUSE HUNTERS’ women 25-54 benchmark were LOVE IT OR LIST IT, KITCHEN COUSINS, DONNA DECORATES DALLAS (all new programs this fall), and the rest of the Saturday Night Design-Time line-up.

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