Scripps Networks CEO Sees Millennials Becoming Linear Viewers

At a certain point, even millennial viewers become interested in where they live and what they eat. And that’s when Scripps Networks Interactive gets them, according to CEO Ken Lowe.

Speaking on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call Tuesday, Lowe was asked about whether the millennials advertisers crave would be tuning into Scripps Networks’ linear properties like HGTV and Food Network.

“We right now feel like we're, I think, in very good shape because of the growth that we've seen in millennials in all of our categories. And of course, this is coming predominantly from social media,” Lowe said. “You’ve heard me referred to this before: there's a certain lifestyle change, I don't want to say it's 30 years of age, but let's talk about the home category. We're seeing engagement among millennials who as they age over the past several years, have grown into our linear television viewing.”

Lowe said millennials use social in ways Scripps Networks' older, more traditional viewers haven’t.

“What we're finding in non-fiction viewing, there's a lot more engagement. There's a lot more of live, ‘did you see this?’ ‘Which home do you think they're going to choose?’ By the way, on Chopped, this is the missing ingredient. Whereas scripted, there's less of an opportunity while the actual show is going on to interact,” he said.

“So I think in the next two years in your time window, we're going to see more emphasis on the engagement part of it, more on the information part of it,” he said. “I'm very encouraged about where we're positioned and how we're taking our content to these new platforms and how consumers are going to use it.”

The millennial viewers interest in sharing content could also make Scripps Networks’ efforts in short-form video more profitable.

“The reason we're doing so much investing in terms of time, energy, and resources into digital video is because of the tremendous growth that we're seeing and the audience consumption of it and the advertiser demand,” said COO Burton Jablin. “So over time, we do see a shift to more of our ad revenue on the digital side coming from those video ad impressions and a smaller percentage coming from display.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.