'Flanker' Networks Create Ad-vantages

RELATED: 'Flanker' Brands Score Big

Having multiple channels in the same category can create new opportunities to sell advertising.

Some food advertisers might not be big enough to afford a schedule on Scripps Networks Interactive's Food Network, but they can experiment with TV advertising on the Cooking Channel, where ratings are lower and ad rates are more reasonable.

"It's challenging for a lot of advertisers who are smaller endemics -- smaller food category advertisers -- to afford the price of admission on Food Network," says Jeff Stettin, VP ad sales at Cooking Channel. "Food Network's gotten so big that a smaller budget doesn't take you very far. It doesn't give you the frequency you're looking for. But now we have a solution for smaller marketers, especially when you include digital and the [Food Network] magazine in the conversation. We can do these 360s that don't break the bank and do a good job of getting some of the smaller endemics a real presence on television."

Stettin says that despite its smaller size, it gets extra meetings with advertisers because Cooking gets included in Food Network sales calls. "If we were on our own there would be some conversations we wouldn't be able to participate in because of our size," he says. Cooking Channel is trying to increase its ad base in the quick serve restaurant, movie and television network categories.

With multiple networks in the food and home category, Scripps Networks maintains a big presence at trade shows other networks don't attend. At those shows, Cooking and DIY identify advertisers that can take their first baby steps onto television, says Susan Leigh, VP of ad sales for DIY.

Some of those advertisers graduate to advertise in Scripps Network's bigger channels. "As they grow, they start being able to add HGTV to their portfolio," says Leigh. We also have a lot of examples of companies that at the end of the day, found that the DIY content and target audience is just a little bit more appropriate to what they're trying to do and they just stay with DIY only."

Stettin says that Cooking Channel added Hammons Black Walnuts as a sponsor after a trade show meetings. Other advertisers Cooking Channel exclusively include Spice Islands, Florida Tomato, Cento Foods, Kerry Gold, National Peanut Board, Panos Brands and Mizkan Brands.

"If they don't have television commercials, we can create them for them. Or we can create relevant short-form content for them that will give them the presence on television and help meet their marketing solutions," Stettin says. "With Cooking Channel you can really see if you've made a difference in someone's business. One of the ways you can tell is  if they come back and spend more money the next year and another way is if they come back and spend not only money on Cooking Channel but on Food Network also."

Leigh estimates that between 15% and 25% of DIY's advertisers are unique to the channel. "Certain advertisers are putting more money on DIY," she adds. "There are a lot of reasons for that. You get a little more frequency for the dollar, but we can also do some special sponsorship platforms that might be out of reach for them on HGTV."

Lately, Scripps has been putting together sponsorships for shows that premiere on DIY and later appear on HGTV. "Advertisers like the idea of one execution that can get a bigger footprint," Leigh says.

DIY has also had success by targeting advertisers that stopped sponsoring HGTV shows as the network grew. "One of the things That I've been spending time with lately is going back and looking at some of the original sponsors of the first years of HGTV's Dream Home. Some of those sponsors as Dream Home got bigger and bigger, they were not able to stay with the show," says Leigh, who is introducing those sponsors to DIY and its Blog Cabin platform.

History Channel has gotten additional ad spending by including H2 in some deals.

When History produced its series Mankind, H2 produced a complimentary series that would run for the whole quarter, general manager Hoogstra said. "Advertisers are being offered a much bigger play and longer flight time, and those dollars can be spread from History and across H2 and into an exclusive series. A couple of those deals got bigger because we had this opportunity on H2."

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.