A lot of change has come to HGTV this year, and more change is on the way.
HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL remain the key component of primetime, and after being floated around the schedule they are now tethered to 10 and 10:30 from Monday through Saturday. Each night of the week offers a different theme of programming from 8 to 10. Mondays were promoted as a signature night last year, but this year Tuesday will host the penultimate signature series, HGTV DESIGN STAR, with spin-offs set to follow in the timeslot. Wednesdays are host to “The Guys of Wednesday Night,” featuring KITCHEN COUSINS, PROPERTY BROTHERS and INCOME PROPERTY, and a new program SCORING THE DEAL slated to launch in late 2012 or early 2013. Thursdays feature power real estate brokers of SELLING NY and LA, with LONDON coming in the summer. Fridays were HHI stacks, but are now a rotating mix of specials and encores. Design Time Saturday remains a bastion for design programming and Sunday nights feature Mike Holmes’ programming, which attracts a 50/50 male/female audience.
Half hour programs are still paired to create one-hour blocks, but hour-long shows are becoming more common on the line-up, particularly in the 8:00 hour.
MAY 2012 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Plus Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / May 2012 vs. May 2011 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
MAY 2012: For the second month in a row, HGTV’S average primetime core women ratings barely moved vs. last year. HOUSE HUNTERS and its spin-offs continue to have a direct impact on the schedule and the bottom line. The network is making good strides towards establishing new franchises and programming blocks with a night-by-night strategy, but has yet to move the ratings needle with them.
HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL collectively received 46 fewer telecasts this May than they did in May 2011. They now finish up the night, airing in the 10 to 11 slot instead of acting as the anchor in the 8 to 9 slot. Friday nights are back to specials instead of HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL stacks. The result was that the venerable programs improved their core women 25-54 ratings by 10% and 29%, but the better ratings were counter-balanced by their diminished presence, and the bottom line stayed the same.
No other program was able to step in and rally the line-up. The HOUSE HUNTERS are in a ratings class of their own. The stars of 2011, HOLMES INSPECTION and SELLING NEW YORK dropped women 25-54 ratings by 20% and 31%. The only night to show double-digit improvement over last year was Friday, which featured a mix of specials, and two of those were HOUSE HUNTERS specials (HOUSE HUNTERS COAST TO CAOST and HOUSE HUNTERS GREAT ESCAPES).
Male audiences grew by about 10% vs. last year, but they are still a small part of HGTV’s viewers. Sunday is the only night where they command a majority of viewers. On average, men comprise just 34% of adult viewers.
Tuesday’s new block of design programming (CELEBRITIES AT HOME, MILLION DOLLAR ROOMS, WHITE ROOM CHALLENGE) drew the smallest audiences, with Saturday’s regular block of design programming pulling a close second.
The “Guys of Wednesday Night” KITCHEN COUSINS and PROPERTY BROTHERS helped bring that night up by 8% on women 25-54 over last year. It is also helping HGTV draw new audiences, as younger and male audiences show even better improvements vs. last year’s line-up.
Thursday’s realtor programming (SELLIN NY, SELLING LA) is on the cusp, hovering right near the primetime average.
Sunday’s Mike Holmes programming took the biggest dive this month. Both men and women turned away, bringing the adult 25-54 ratings down by 21% vs. last year.