HGTV Analysis

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES:

HGTV is one of the most consistent programmers on the cable spectrum, but the line-up went through some changes in the second half of 2012, and more change is hitting at the beginning of 2013.

HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL remain the key component of primetime, tethered to 10 and 10:30 from Monday through Saturday.

LOVE IT OR LIST IT, which is basically HOUSE HUNTERS with a spin, is a much-needed scheduling staple, giving the HOUSE HUNTERS some relief. LOVE IT calls Monday home, but can fill in on other days of the week, and has also taken over the iconic Design Time Saturday night. The design shows consistently under-performed real estate and construction programming, but seemed safe and somewhat under the radar on Saturday nights, where Design Stars and HGTV personalities were born and bred. The night has gone from the lowest rated to one of the top-rated of the week.

“The Guys of Wednesday Night” still reign, with the help of  the PROPERTY BROTHERS (Drew and Jonathan Scott) and their spin-offs and the KITCHEN COUSINS and their spin-offs.

Thursdays were the power real estate brokers with SELLING NY, then LA, and most recently LONDON. NATURAL BORN SELLERS joined the fray in August. But they are gone, and in their place HGTV has been rotating repeats of Wednesday night fare and introducing new programming.

Fridays are usually filled with a mix of seasonal specials.

And finally, Sundays were the long-standing home for Mike Holmes and his various programs…HOLMES ON HOMES, HOLMES INSPECTION and GREAT AMERICAN HANDYMAN. But the programming was fading and the dual male/female audience did not match the rest of the schedule. By the end of September Mike and his programs were gone. HOLMES MAKES IT RIGHT is airing on HGTV Canada, and is rumored to hit the US in early 2013, but according to its official Facebook page, nothing is scheduled yet. In the meantime, Sunday has been acting as more of a marquee night, and the strategy seems to be slowly catching on. In November HOUSE HUNTERS RENOVATION found a permanent home at 10PM. In January aspirational/escapist programs (HAWAII LIFE and ISLAND HUNTERS) made an impact.

JANUARY 2013 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:

Live Plus Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / January 2013 vs. January 2012  (% Change)

HH

W18-49

W25-54

Monday 8-11pm

   18%

      16%

  10%

Tuesday 8-11pm

   26%

     31%

  23%

Wednesday 8-11pm

   44%

    36%

  37%

Thursday 8-11pm

    -2%

     -8%

    -10%

Friday 8-11pm

   -8%

     -7%

    -11%

Saturday 8-11pm

  41%

     60%

   55%

Sunday 8-11pm

 5%

    7%

   2%

MTWTFSS 8-11pm

   17%

     16%

      15%

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

JANUARY 2013: January is typically HGTV’s best-rated month of the year as the net breaks out is big guns on New Years Day, airing annual specials, launching new shows and previewing programs slated to air later in the year. This January followed the rule, delivering the best bottom-line primetime ratings on our records (back to October 2007). Ratings were up fairly evenly across the board, with core women 25-54 jumping 24% ahead of last month and 15% ahead of last year. Nearly every night and every program showed marked improvement, with just Thursday and Friday night showing some signs of struggle vs. last year.

New Years Day started the year off right for HGTV. One of the more modest cable networks, HGTV rarely releases ratings brag sheets. In fact, we couldn’t find one for the stellar January ratings. But, the net did want to talk about New Year’s Day. It’s a signature day for HGTV, starting with commercial-free Rose Bowl Parade coverage, highlighted with the definitive HGTV DREAM HOME and culminating with primetime premieres. According to HGTV, it took “the No.1 spot among all ad supported cable networks on New Year's Day among upscale A25-54, W25-54 and W18-49 . In addition, HGTV secured its highest New Year's Day primetime and Tuesday primetime in network history.” ISLAND HUNTERS and HAWAII LIFE launches posted huge time-period increases, and both were given pushed up orders for more eps. And the success continued throughout most of the month.

LOVE IT OR LIST IT has effectively taken over Monday nights, and more recently it bumped the Design Time line-up off Saturday nights. Since LOVE IT was added, Saturdays have become the second highest rated night of the week. They were the lowest-rated night when design programming was running. The program also provided much needed relief for the HOUSE HUNTERS / HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL duo in 2012, and its success is carrying over into 2013. It ran 18 times this month, and women 25-54 ratings were up by 22% vs. last year (when it ran only six times), and up by 37% vs. last month.

Still, the HOUSE HUNTERS franchise remains the heart of the schedule. Running nearly every night from 10 to 11, they take up the most inventory and provide the best ratings of any program on the line-up. They both improved ratings by more than 20% vs. last year and last month.

But that’s not all! Wednesdays are a solid night with the PROPERTY BROTHERS and their spin-off programming. This month brought COUSINS ON CALL as well, and the two programs combined to help bump the night up by 20% to 44% across all demos. As SVP Kathleen Finch says of the twin PROPERTY BROTHERS, “The two of them have caught on with our viewers, probably like nobody else has ever caught on before. They’re just terrific talent, they completely know their stuff. Women love them, men love them, and one of the things about them is the rapport they have is so terrific, and it really shows on camera.” They will be getting yet another show on the HGTV line-up this summer, when they are paired with signature HGTV DESIGN STAR in their own competition program, BROTHER VS BROTHER. The COUSINS’ success is bringing them more programming as well. UNDERCOVER OVERHAUL features the cousins demolishing outdated, dysfunctional spaces and surprising neighborhood heroes with their renovations.  The series is slated to premiere in October.

Thursdays and Fridays featured a mix of new programs and specials that held or slightly lost audience vs. last year. SALVAGE DAWGS and REHAB ADDICT are a step away from the usual power real estate brokers of Thursday nights, and viewers have not yet taken to the new line-up. Fridays continue with a mix of specials, some successful (FLEA MARKET FLIP, OUTRAGEOUS BATHROOMS) and some not (CELEBRITY MOTOR HOMES).

Sundays continue their make-over without the male skewing Mike Holmes programming to lead the way. High profile shows have been finding some success, with the special AMAZING WATER HOMES, and new programs ISLAND HUNTERS and HAWAII LIFE giving the night a spark (and relieving viewers of the January blues). HOUSE HUNTERS RENOVATION continues at 10PM, growing ratings over last month by 10% on women 25-54 and by 52% on men 25-54.

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