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Executive Interview: Greg Moyer, Scripps Networks

Faculty Note: CableU is proud to present Greg Moyer, president of Scripps International, as he responds to our most recent analyses of the Scripps Networks' on CU and answers our key executive programming questions. Moyer guides Scripps Networks' global business opportunities, a key strategy in creating new growth for the company as it takes greater advantage of the new wave of media growth in the international marketplace.

Moyer joined Scripps Networks in January 2009 from Rainbow Media Holdings, the programming arm of Cablevision Systems Corp., where he was general manager of VOOM HD Networks. Outside the U.S., VOOM Global Network reached 36 countries and served over 32 million subscribers.

Before joining Rainbow Media, initially as president of regional programming, Moyer was president, chief editorial and creative officer at Discovery Communications, Inc. While at Discovery, he was a major contributor to developing an exclusive programming partnership with BBC Worldwide. He explored the launch of Discovery Channels in Asia, placed the Discovery brand and programming on Chinese Central Television and developed extensive relationships with major international broadcasters and production entities.

Based out of their New York office, Moyer serves on Scripps Networks’ Executive Committee and Diversity Committee. He reports directly to company president John Lansing.

What can global programmers learn from the US cable network market and from your network in particular?

The truth is that they're probably studying and learning from our networks at this very moment. Scripps programming can be seen in 170 countries on all seven continents. Again, it's about engaging audiences and striking a balance between the "steak" and the "sizzle." Consumers have so many different outlets to turn to for entertainment and information; we want to make sure we always interact and meet them where they are, whether it's on-air, online, or on mobile. At Scripps, we say that we have passionate viewers who will love our brands for life. And it shows.

With housing down, how have you had to alter your programming strategies?

We've been fortunate to have created such authoritative brands that people continue to turn to us for home inspiration and solutions. But even in the midst of a recession, people still want to maximize what they have and dream about a better future. Our ratings for HGTV and DIY Network didn't plummet with the market. In fact, they remain high, even up over the same period last year. We're now putting a greater emphasis on shows that offer solutions for better living and increasing home values. Our programming shows "reality," not get-rich-with-real-estate schemes. Of course, we always strive to be germane to people's current home needs. On HGTV, for example, we have a show called The Unsellables that gives people tips for selling their homes in a tough market. DIY Network's new Ten Grand in Your Hand shows homeowners how to shave up to $10,000 from their home improvement projects.

What are your longer term programming goals for the network and how do these relate to your feelings about the economic climate in the near future?

I'm hoping, as we all are, that the worst of this economic recession is behind us. The good news at Scripps Networks is that our programming has always been relevant and is perhaps even more so now that people in this country seem to be in a "nesting" mood, spending more time at home, cooking more meals, and escaping with home-centric activities. Since my charge is to expand our networks' presence beyond North America, I'm always thinking of ways to exploit that programming globally, beyond third-party sales to broadcasters. In spite of the economic climate here at home, there are developing TV markets abroad that are hungry for the kind of fresh content we offer. The beauty of our programming is how well it will travel. So my goal is to position our tremendous catalog of lifestyle media on a worldwide stage. Look for big news from Scripps on the international scene later this year!

Our analyst at CableU observes your reach on Food is getting broader, and younger. What do you attribute this to?

Well, that's by design. Obviously, food is something that touches us all (everyone's got to eat!) We want to try to cater to as many different demographic groups as possible, as well as provide several different demographic targets for advertisers. Our networks continue to prove they can reach targeted audiences in distinct and compelling ways. Both the competition shows (like Next Food Network Star and Chopped) and the "hipper" talent (like Guy and Aida) on Food Network are appealing to the younger set. Our interactive team also just launched a new Web site -- Food2 -- which is designed on a social media platform and explores life through the lens of food, making cooking whimsical and fun.

How does Food remain the gold standard for culinary programming for a genre that seems to be continually expanding and becoming increasingly competitive?

Food-related programming remains popular with viewers worldwide, a fact that holds true in both good times and in our current economic environment. We’ve even experienced a fast-growing demand for culinary content beyond the traditional cookery show. To that end, Scripps Networks has led the way in expanding the definition of food-related programming, creating great shows beyond the "in-the-kitchen" instruction. International audiences are responding favorably. Our programs stand out with their consistently strong production values, engaging talent such as Giada DeLaurentiis, Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri, and in the sheer volume of our library, which features an unparalleled variety of entertaining and informative culinary programming.

What is the key element that makes a program right for your network?

It's all about engagement. Our lifestyle networks are leaders because they are engaging. Our high-quality brands consistently show relevance and authority in the food and shelter categories because they simultaneously inform and entertain. Our goal is to inspire viewers to get the most out of life and living -- at home, in the kitchen, shopping or on vacation.