Optimum Homes, 'HGTV Design Star' Build Sweepstakes

The sixth season of HGTV Design Star is in the house with Cablevision's interactive residential service.

The programmer and the New York metro area's predominant cable operator have fashioned a sweepstakes offering around the hit series and Optimum Homes.

The "Optimum Homes Dream Designer Makeover with HGTV Sweepstakes" will afford the winner $15,000 and a special in-home consultation by a member of the HGTV Design Star team.

Running through Aug. 7, the promotion is designed to raise awareness for Optimum Homes, which is available to iO TV Digital Cable and Optimum Online customers and enables them to research their next home purchase and find thousands of listings for rent or sale, while also driving tune-in for Design Star. The show's sixth season premieres July 11 at 9 p.m.

Brent Scott, vice president, affiliate national accounts at Scripps, calls the sweepstakes "a unique opportunity. Cablevision approached us about getting the message out to the market about Optimum Homes. We thought HGTV Design Star was a perfect fit and could support that effort."

Gemma Toner, senior vice president of marketing and business development for Cablevision, says that Optimum Homes aims to do a pair of sweepstakes promotions annually. In the past, the interactive service has worked with retailers Lowe's and Bob's Discount Furniture.

"We look for targeted and relevant partners," she said. "We think the Optimum Homes Dream Designer Makeover with HGTV Sweepstakes is a fantastic experience for our customers. We are thrilled to offer a once in a lifetime opportunity to receive remodeling tips from an HGTV design pro and get the financial support to put towards a home design transformation."

Toner says the program, in addition to providing users with the aforementioned prize, has several objectives: to drive awareness for both Optimum Homes and HGTV Design Star and build utilization of the interactive service.

To that end, Toner says that the sweepstakes is being backed by an undisclosed number of cross-channel spots running across all dayparts, a local radio schedule and messaging/links on the Web sites of Optimum Homes and Newsday, the newspaper owned by Cablevision.

"I'm most excited about the media support. There are always people watching the channel or visiting the site because there in the market for a home or an apartment," said Toner. "Then, there are others checking out the value of their property compared to others. It's a sport to a certain degree. We think the promotion is going to get more people to engage with the service."

Given the number of cross-channel spots and other media support, Scott anticipates the sweepstakes will help generate additional ratings for the first few weeks of the new season of Design Star in the New York DMA.

Scott said this program evolved through course of business conversations and was not a guarantee following the resolution of Scripps's carriage dispute with Cablevision early in January 2010.

"We want to do this with all MSOs, not only within the interactive space, but wherever they have needs and the brands can fit together," said Scott, noting the programmer is ongoing discussions with distributors about similar initiatives.

Residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, age 21 or older, can enter to win -- no purchase is necessary -- by visiting OptimumHomes.com or newsday.com/optimumhomes. Cablevision iO TV subscribers can submit entries via the Optimum Homes on channel 606. Cablevision will notify the winner no later than Aug. 16