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 replaced 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 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 LONDON. NATURAL BORN SELLERS joined the fray in August. But they are gone, and HGTV has been rotating repeats of Wednesday night fare and introducing new programming in an attempt to fill the hole.
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.
FEBRUARY 2013 PRIMETIME RATINGS ANALYSIS:
Live Plus Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / February 2013 vs. February 2012 (% Change)
Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample
FEBRUARY 2013: HGTV lost some ground from January’s record-setting ratings, but February still stands as one of the network’s best performing months ever. Compared to February 2012, primetime women 25-54 ratings show 18% improvement.
In a healthy sign, it is not just a single program or franchise that is boosting up HGTV’s viewership. There are several successes on the line-up. The HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL duo remains a strong foundation for the network. They take up more real estate than any other program on the line-up, and bring in the biggest ratings. Despite their age and dominant presence, both programs improved ratings over last year by an impressive 23%.
Newer supporting programs have given the HOUSE HUNTERS programs room to grow. LOVE IT OR LIST IT has quickly gained prominence, increasing its primetime presence from one run per week last year to four runs per week this year, which is a rare occurrence for the conservative network. The program now supports both Monday and Saturday nights, the two nights with the biggest year over year growth.
Tuesday nights this month featured older programs PROPERTY VIRGINS and INCOME PROPERTY. With new episodes they were able to grow audience vs. both last year and last month.
Wednesday’s PROPERTY BROTHERS and COUSINS ON CALL both dropped audience vs. last month, with a 28% drop for the cousins and a 14% drop for the brothers. PROPERTY BROTHERS continues to deliver above average ratings, but COUSINS ON CALL has fallen below par.
Some DIY programs were rotated into Thursday nights this month, with REHAB ADDICT and WEST END SALVAGE joining the HGTV line-up. Neither program topped the primetime average. Friday night continues to host specials and new programming rotating in and out. The best performing program of the bunch was ISLAND HUNTERS, HGTV’s newest hit program. The program with the lowest numbers was SPONTANEOUS CONSTRUCTION.
Sundays were hard-hit across the cable spectrum this month as special event programming (Super Bowl, Grammys, NBA ALL STAR WEEKEND) was strong. HGTV faced the competition without male-skewing Mike Holmes programming and lost 43% of its men 25-54 ratings vs. last year, but gained 2% more target women 25-54 ratings for the night. HAWAII LIFE struggled vs. last month, but SCORING THE DEAL was able to hold its head above water.
HGTV plans to continue aggressively rolling new programming into the line-up this year, with everything from compelling real estate shows to engaging renovation series to follow docs, workplace docs and character-driven programs. The network has indicated a desire to go a bit more edgy than they have in the past. “Anything that fits across the spectrum of "home" - in a way that's never been presented before. Shows with a twist, a different POV, a bit of edge, and that are full of passion and imagination for an upscale audience is welcome fare.”