HGTV and DIY Network are building ratings momentum during the warmweather months, as viewers fantasize about their dream homes — or take on improvement projects to make those dreams a reality.
HGTV is enjoying its best ratings run ever, setting primetime audience records in June and July while establishing itself as a top 10 network thus far during the summer. It has averaged 1.4 million viewers through the first eight weeks of the summer, a 9% increase over the same period last year. HGTV is one of the few top 10 most-watched cable networks that has generated a year-to-year ratings gain this summer.
DIY is also on a ratings roll, averaging 178,000 viewers in primetime so far this summer, an 18% lift over the same period in 2013.
“Our programming is fun to watch,” Kathleen Finch, president of HGTV and DIY Network, said. “We feature beautiful homes and beautiful talent. It’s escapist fantasy and useful information, so we really do promise that viewers will feel good by watching [HGTV and DIY], especially in the summertime when people want to feel good.”
Several new series HGTV has rolled out since early summer have found an audience among its core 25-to- 54-year-old viewers. Last month Flipping the Block, in which HGTV personality Josh Temple oversees four teams transforming identical run-down condos to be sold, drew 1.6 mi l lion viewers in its premiere, one of the network’s most-watched show launches ever.
Another series, Flip or Flop — which follows husband-andwife real estate team Christina and Tarek El Moussa and as they renovate and sell properties — is averaging more than 1.1 million viewers this summer, according to HGTV.
Finch said the network’s formula of finding real-estate and renovation experts and following them in documentary format as they apply their craft has resonated with viewers who want to watch something different than traditional reality and scripted programming.
“We’re building shows around good-looking, smart experts in their field and we’re following them doc-style, which is really working well for us,” she said.
Finch also said the network is not afraid to green-light shows for several seasons when they have early ratings success. The network has already commissioned second and third seasons of house-renovation series Fixer Upper, which is averaging 1.3 million viewers since it first launched this past May.
“We don’t want the traction a new show generates to let up, so we will race another season onto the air as soon as we can,” she said.
FAME AND FORTUNE
On the DIY side, Finch said celebrity-driven, house renovation shows such as Daryl’s Over-Hall, featuring singer Daryl Hall; The Vanilla Ice Project, starring rapper Vanilla Ice; and Rev. Run’s Renovation, hosted by hip-hop artist Run of Run- D.M.C., have drawn viewers who then stay to watch other DIY programming. Other stars launching shows on DIY later this year are William Shatner and Ellen DeGeneres.
“Celebrities are a lot of fun, especially in our genre because it’s a side of a celebrity’s life that you never get to see,” she said. “We all live through buying and renovating a home, but to see a celebrity do it is another side that people are fascinated by. The celebrities work as a magnet for the network because they bring people to the network, and while [viewers] are there they get all this other fun information.”