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Allstate Sponsors DIY's Disaster Home Series

Allstate has signed up as sponsor of the second season of DIY Network's Disaster House, one of the series in the network's new Smart Money Wednesday block which is attracting advertisers in the financial industry.

The Smart Money Wednesday block features shows that emphasize the dollars and cents aspects of home renovation projects, from creating a budget to determining how much they can add to the value of a house.

The shows may be resonating because of the tough times in the housing market, but "no matter what's going on in the economy, one's home is the number one investment that you're ever going to make, and your home is the one investment that you can really impact the value of pretty easily," says Kathleen Finch, who was general manager of DIY until last week, when she was named general manager of HGTV. Both DIY and HGTV are owned by Scripps Networks.

DIY has run financially-oriented shows like Sweat Equity for four years, but it recently began putting more of a financial emphasis in more of the shows it produces.

"Not only were they rating really well, but advertisers' ears perked up, the financially focused advertisers," Finch said. That led the network to build a night around those shows-and for its ad sales department to sell that night separately from the network's other programming.

"What nice is as we focus on things like this, the insurance companies come on board, the financial services come on board, the mortgage brokers come on board," Finch says. In addition to Allstate, broker Charles Schwab is among the financially oriented advertisers signing up for Smart Money Wednesday.

Those financial advertisers are drawn by the surprisingly upscale audience the network attracts.

Excluding sports, news and kids channels, DIY ranked sixth with a median household income of $63,000 for its 25 to 54 year old viewers in primetime. On the weekends, DIY rises to No. 2 with an average income of $68,000. DIY ranks 72nd among all ad-supported cable networks in delivery of viewers 25 to 54.

"Our network is for people who own homes, so that automatically brings an upscale viewer," Finch said.

Shows in the block include Ten Grand in Your Hand, which tells viewers how to cut $10,000 off their contractors bids by doing parts of the job yourself; Money Hunters, which identifies unlikely places in a project where a homeowner could save money, and This New House, which looks at energy-saving technologies that can be incorporated into new and old homes.

Disaster House is a bit different. It is about how to avoid disasters in your home and what to do if the worst happens. "We buy a home and then we systematically destroy it by replicating disasters. So we flood the basement and have giant wind machines come and blow the roof off. It's a wild ride," Finch says.

A lot of Disaster House has to do with having proper insurance, making Allstate a logical sponsor. Allstate is not involved in the production of the show itself, but DIY has created a series of vignettes about insurance issues that include an Allstate representative.

DIY plans to have more shows with a financial orientation joining the lineup, including I Hate My Kitchen, which is about doing kitchen remodels in a smart way. The show will debut later this month.