HGTV Analysis



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. PROPERTY BROTHERS has been getting an increased presence on the schedule, running on four different nights this July.

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 hosts the penultimate signature series, HGTV DESIGN STAR. 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, LA and LONDON, with NATURUAL BORN SELLERS joining the fray in July. Fridays were HHI stacks last year, 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 is unique in that it 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.

HGTV is among the best in identifying and developing program elements to build upon. HGTV is able to extract the formula that works in existing programs and apply it to new programming. The HOUSE HUNTERS franchise is perhaps the most successful result of this strategy. Some recent press statements from general manager Kathleen Finch illustrate the point:

- "The Property Brothers are big stars on HGTV so we've created an exciting second series featuring twins Drew and Jonathan."

- HGTV viewers passionately tune in to programs about family run real estate businesses, they love the dynamics and drama that comes with running a real family business, so we're excited to introduce NATURAL BORN SELLERS."

- In talking about expanded Mike Holmes programming "Some of our most successful shows are those that feature experts who come to the rescue of real homeowners who don't know how to resolve a design or construction problem."

- She identifies who HGTV viewers are and what they are looking for: "Our audiences also love that HGTV provides pure voyeuristic fun with shows that feature fantasy celebrity lifestyle and over-the-top home trends. The network has fresh offerings for every fan of the home, including those who enjoy peeking inside other people's houses, travel enthusiasts and reality competition addicts."


Live Plus Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / July 2012 vs. July 2011  (% Change)




Monday 8-11pm




Tuesday 8-11pm




Wednesday 8-11pm




Thursday 8-11pm




Friday 8-11pm




Saturday 8-11pm




Sunday 8-11pm




MTWTFSS 8-11pm




Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

JULY 2012: Double digit-growth stemming from signature programming on  Tuesdays and Wednesdays was off-set by the steeply declining Sunday night Mike Holmes programming. At the end of the month there was little to no gain on bottom-line audiences vs. last month and last year.

HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL continue as the core of HGTV. They are the two top-rated programs on households and female ratings, dominating the top-rated telecast list. Even with 30 telecasts apiece, their average program ratings top the next nearest program (DESIGN STAR) by more than 10%. Together the programs take up about one-third of the primetime inventory and an even bigger share of the total ratings. There have been many efforts on the part of HGTV to decrease the reliance on HOUSE HUNTERS, and yet among the eight returning programs from last year, they are the only two to grow women 25-54 ratings.

On Mondays LOVE IT OR LIST IT, a subtle variation of the successful HOUSE HUNTERS formula is holding its own. It now runs back to back at 8PM and 9PM and helped push Mondays to the second best rated night of the week.

While HOUSE HUNTERS is the network's bread and butter, the signature series is HGTV DESIGN STAR. Last year the competition program ran on Monday nights, with much lower ratings than it is getting this year. It now premieres on Tuesdays, and also encores on Saturdays, anchoring the DESIGN-TIME Saturday night line-up. HGTV tried moving some of the higher-profile design programming to Tuesdays earlier in the year, without too much success. Those programs were quickly displaced by PROPERTY BROTHERS. However, encoring DESIGN STAR on Saturdays was a good move, helping to bump up Saturdays by 10% or so.

HGTV relies more and more on PROPERTY BROTHERS to build the line-up. This month the program was up to 15 hours of primetime, as opposed to six hours last month and five last year. Now in its fourth season, the program's home is on Wednesday nights, where it is well-paired with KITCHEN COUSINS. The program is also being used to help out on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday nights.

Thursday's realtor programming got another new program this month with NATURAL BORN SELLERS (SELLING LONDON was introduced last month). The night gained 7% on women 25-54 ratings vs. last month, but slipped 5% vs. last year. Ratings gains can be attributed to the season two telecasts of PROPERTY BROTHERS more than the realtor programming that is supposed to define the night.

Fridays were full of specials, but the best draw of the night was HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL. The next-best rated efforts of the night were HOUSE HUNTERS WORLD TOUR and an EXTREME RV special.

Led by HOLMES ON HOLMES, Sundays were the single biggest problem on HGTV this month. Last year the program was consistently among the top-rated, but this year it is at the bottom of the household and female ratings rankers. Again, PROPERTY BROTHERS was brought in to help out a fading program, but it didn't save the night. Sundays took a 39% loss on women 25-54. New Mike Holmes programming is set to hit the line-up soon...HOLMES MAKES IT RIGHT is scheduled to launch in October, and season two of competition series ALL AMERICAN HANDYMAN, hosted by Canadian Mike Holmes debuts August 19th.