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HGTV Analysis


HGTV is one of the most consistent programmers on the cable spectrum, but the line-up went through some changes in the second half of 2012, and the network is reaping the benefits in 2013.

HOUSE HUNTERS and HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL remain the key component of primetime, tethered to 10 and 10:30.

LOVE IT OR LIST IT, which is basically HOUSE HUNTERS with a spin, is a much-needed scheduling staple, giving the HOUSE HUNTERS some relief. LOVE IT calls Monday home, but can fill in on other days of the week, and has replaced the iconic Design Time Saturday night. The design shows consistently under-performed real estate and construction programming, but seemed safe and somewhat under the radar on Saturday nights, where Design Stars and HGTV personalities were born and bred. The night has gone from the lowest rated to one of the top-rated of the week.

“The Guys of Wednesday Night” are still in place with PROPERTY BROTHERS  and their spin-offs and the KITCHEN COUSINS and their spin-offs.

Thursdays were the power real estate brokers with SELLING NY, then LA, and LONDON. But they are gone, and HGTV has been introducing new programming in an attempt to fill the hole and find the next hit.

Fridays are usually filled with a mix of seasonal specials, which have become a breeding ground for new programming.

And finally, Sundays were the long-standing home for Mike Holmes and his various programs…HOLMES ON HOMES, HOLMES INSPECTION and GREAT AMERICAN HANDYMAN. But the programming was fading and the dual male/female audience did not match the rest of the schedule. By the end of September Mike and his programs were gone. HOLMES MAKES IT RIGHT is airing on HGTV Canada, and the DIY network, but not on HGTV. In the meantime, Sunday has been acting as more of a marquee night, and the strategy seems to be catching on. In November HOUSE HUNTERS RENOVATION found a permanent home at 10PM. In first quarter aspirational/escapist programs (HAWAII LIFE and ISLAND HUNTERS) made an impact.

As the year progresses, HGTV plans to continue aggressively rolling new programming into the line-up, with everything from real estate shows to engaging renovation series to follow docs, workplace docs and character-driven programs. The network has indicated a desire to go a bit more edgy than they have in the past. “Anything that fits across the spectrum of "home" - in a way that's never been presented before. Shows with a twist, a different POV, a bit of edge, and that are full of passion and imagination for an upscale audience is welcome fare. Our audiences crave high-energy experts and programs that are fun, informative, and most importantly, entertaining.” (HGTV)


Live Plus Same Day Primetime Ratings Comparison / April 2013 vs. April 2012  (% Change)

Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

APRIL 2013: HGTV’s target female ratings held this month vs. last as they continue to pace well ahead of 2012 levels. The network is on a winning streak, hitting new heights built on the continued success of the HOUSE HUNTERS franchise and the newfound popularity of LOVE IT OR LIST IT.

Once again HGTV proved its talent at maximizing its popular properties. LOVE IT OR LIST IT TOO hit primetime this month, running five times over the course of the month and averaging out to a sixth place ranking among women 25-54, right behind LOVE IT OR LIST IT (which ran 16 times).  The HOUSE HUNTERS programming took the top three spots with HOUSE HUNTERS, HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL and HOUSE HUNTERS RENOVATION. Despite their age and their ubiquitous nature, the programs continue to grow their ratings, improving women 25-54 by 11% vs. last year’s numbers.

Tuesday night’s line up of BUYING AND SELLING and INCOME PROPERTY continues to be an underperforming combo.

The PROPERTY BROTHERS and COUSINS ON CALL franchises seem to have peaked. When LOVE IT OR LIST IT TOO bumped COUSINS ON CALL out of the 8PM Wendesday timeslot, PROPERTY BROTHERS showed marked improvement, but the program average was still off by 22% vs. last year and 7% vs. last month.

Thursday’s new program REHAB ADDICT is looking strong. Launched last month, it builds from lead-in INCOME PROPERTY and improved target ratings by about 10%.

YOU LIVE IN WHAT? and EXTREME HOMES are two newer programs that found a strong audience this month. Both programs improved vs. March. They could be poster-children for the HGTV strategy of nurturing shows in the Friday night block until they are ready to be transplanted to Sunday nights.

FLEA MARKET FLIP is back for a third season this year on Friday nights. It had a decent start last month, but dropped over 20% of its ratings since March and over 30% vs. last year.

Overall, 2013 has been a strong year for HGTV with a lot of promising new properties in its portfolio. New programming announcements made during upfront season indicate the net will continue with similar strategies through the next season.