Do It Yourself Network, the Home & Garden Television
spinoff, launches this week with a digital-carriage deal with Charter Communications in
DIY -- which is hoping for both digital and analog
distribution -- will debut Thursday (Sept. 30). So far, the network has only closed an
affiliation agreement with Charter, according to Susan Packard, executive vice president
of affiliate sales, international and new business development for Scripps Networks.
Charter is in the process of deploying digital cable at its
systems, an MSO spokeswoman said, and DIY will be made available to digital subscribers as
the service is rolled out.
DIY, part of E.W. Scripps Co.'s cable stable, is in
the process of finalizing carriage agreements with several other MSOs, according to
Packard, as well as talking with AT&T Corp.'s Headend in the Sky digital platform
and direct-broadcast satellite providers.
To foster its digital distribution, DIY is also being
carried on a transponder that's offering digital feeds for a number of
brand-extension programming services. That pod includes The Biography Channel, History
Channel International, The Independent Film Channel, CNBC2, MuchMusic USA, Lifetime Movie
Network and ZDTV. Those networks began offering digital feeds to cable operators from that
transponder in July.
Packard said she expects DIY to have "very respectable
numbers," in terms of subscribers, by the Western Show in December.
Over a three-year period, Scripps will invest $15 million
to get DIY on track. The channel's strategy is to offer in-depth instructions on a
variety of topics, through both the video network and its Web site. That format will be
quite different from HGTV, which has evolved and broadened its programming, moving beyond
"DIY is very specific, step-by-step instructional
programming," said Ed Spray, executive vice president of programming, new media and
research for Scripps Networks. "It's a very targeted approach. HGTV has
broadened, offering more ideas and inspiration in its programming. It's a much
DIY's programming format is to air a five-hour block
each day, which will be repeated four times during that 24-hour period. That block will
include four hour-long hosted segments dedicated to a different HGTV topic: building and
remodeling; gardening and landscaping; design and decorating; and crafts and hobbies.
DIY's five-hour program block will also include a
half-hour show called Tools and Techniques,as well as another half-hour
segment that Spray has dubbed "crash course," covering a single topic during the
course of a week.
DIY will have a new five-hour block each day from now until
the end of the year, according to Spray. The network has produced 65 one-hour segments on
each of its four categories, so it has roughly 300 hours of programming in the can.
The four hour-long segments will each have their own hosts.
Their content will include program snippets culled from HGTV's library -- segments of
two to six minutes -- as well as originally produced programming.
At launch, close to 40 percent of DIY's programming
will be original, having been produced exclusively for the network, Spray said.
The Web site will include detailed step-by-step
instructions for 1,200 different projects, he added. This means that even TV viewers who
don't get DIY on cable can turn to the site for information.
"You can use the Web site without seeing the cable
network," Spray said.
Although DIY is starting out covering just four major
categories from HGTV with its programming, it will expand beyond that in the future, Spray
said. Eventually, the network will offer how-to advice on topics such as food -- with help
from sister Scripps service Food Network -- as well as finance and photography.
DIY also has plans to be fully interactive down the road.
It is already experimenting with Microsoft Corp.'s WebTV Networks unit, and it is
talking with Wink Communications Inc. and WorldGate Communications Inc. about making
interactivity an element of its programming, Spray said.