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HGTV Touts New ‘House Hunters’

2/13/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

HGTV is ramping up production
for the long-running series House Hunters
and House Hunters International, supporting
the tandem’s new slate with a multimedia
and experiential marketing campaign.

Whereas HGTV has run the shows
throughout its schedule, it is now emphasizing
their original weeknight debuts at 10 p.m.
and 10:30 p.m., as of Feb. 6.

All told, HGTV has ordered more than 200
new installments of the shows from Pie Town
Productions and Leopard Films to run between
now and June.

That’s more than double the order for all
of 2012.

House Hunters and House Hunters International
are among the most popular
shows on HGTV and really resonate with
our audience,” Denise Conroy-Galley, senior
vice president of marketing and creative services,
said. “We really want to emphasize the schedule of new
originals.”

Consistently ranking among its top 10 series among the
target demo of adults 25 to 54, HGTV said some 20 million
viewers tuned in either of the shows in January.

ENTERS POP LEXICON

Lineup staples since House Hunters premiered in
September 1999 and the spinoff arrived in February
2006, they have become part of the pop culture.
Craig Ferguson gave a recent shout-out for HHI on
CBS’s Late Late Show. An HH feature ran in People.
And Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon referenced HH on
the Jan. 19 episode of 30 Rock.

On the 30 Rock episode entitled “Idiots Are People
Two!,” dialogue included the lines: “I also have
a lot of imaginary arguments with the couples of
House Hunters. Why can’t people look past paint
color?”

Riffing off the drinking games tied to Fox’s former
serial 24, in which aficionados downed a shot
for every Jack Bauer “damnit,” HGTV is developing
a bingo game around such series catchphrases as
“wow!” “this is amazing!” and “OMG!”

Visitors to HGTV.com/househunters can print
game cards and play along with the show.

The network is also taking the show on the road
to New Orleans, staging a House Hunters Bingo
House Party during Mardi Gras and with Gray
Line’s Jazz Cruise aboard the steamboat Natchez
as it sails the Mississippi River.

It’s also working with New York-based social
media/marketing company House Party, which
winnowed 12,000 national responses to 1,000 hostesses
who’ll play House Hunters Bingo with guests
in their homes.

“We haven’t done a lot of experiential marketing,
but we think these are interesting opportunities,” Conroy-
Galley said.

Viewers also can “house hunt” in real time using the
new House Hunters app, which will be available in the Apple
Store for download on iPad this month. The free app,
which corresponds with episodes of House
Hunters International
that air on Thursdays,
spins on Media-Sync technology that allows
viewers to play along with home buyers in the
show. The app also includes trivia about international
living, quizzes on the houses in the
episode, viewer polls and a submissions feature
to send in guesses for which house the
soon-to-be-homeowners will choose.

The online community can come together
on the House Hunters Facebook page, where
fans can find additional exclusive content.
They also can share stories about their own
house-hunting experiences and chat about
the show. A “Fan of the Week” will be selected
and showcased each week.

“HGTV has its own Facebook page. This
is our first show extension page,” Conroy-
Galley said.

These efforts are complementing more
traditional media endeavors.

SEGMENTED PROMOS

In addition to promos running on Scripps Network Interactive
services, HGTV, through new shop Horizon Media,
has secured schedules, beginning on Feb. 13, on cable networks
targeting four audience segments.

New York’s Defiant has developed four creative executions
aimed accordingly at women in their 30s and 40s
who either are soccer moms or consider themselves to be
hipsters; the occasional network watcher who sometimes
opens the door to new home viewing on the two series;
and a fourth group that prefers the show’s international
version.

There are also digital buys on Hulu, Facebook and
SheKnows.com.

While HGTV typically doesn’t use radio, it will put that
medium into play with tune-in ads in the top 15 markets.

HGTV also will run a magazine ad, reflecting a takedown
image from each of the four TV spots, in People, US
Weekly
and TV Guide.

All in, the campaign value is pegged at $5 million.

The network’s goal: a 15% spike in ratings.

After the upcoming flight, Conroy-Galley said HGTV’s
focus will shift to more social-media gambits and publicrelations
initiatives, with a particular emphasis on conversion
markets, where HH and HHI deliver strong ratings.

September