Scripps Networks Interactive 03/22/17

March 22
Scripps Networks Interactive

Scripps Networks Interactive had plenty to crow about during its NYC upfront presentations yesterday, one in the morning, the other a star-studded evening affair. Scripps Networks Interactive’s Jon Steinlauf, president, ad sales and marketing, said that with mobile, OTT and streaming options, advertisers are “facing a marketing landscape where ad avoidance might seem inevitable. Trust me, it’s not – not here at Scripps.” In fact, reported Steinlauf, in the midst of “all the distractions of 2016,” Scripps Networks and Scripps Digital finished the most successful 12 months in its history. “People came to our brands in record numbers to be entertained and inspired,” with C3 ratings growth across the board.

HGTV had its highest-rated year ever, with 6% year-over-year growth in prime ratings among P25-54 – and viewers can count on more of a good thing. Spin-offs of popular hits include Fixer Upper: Behind the Design, Flip or Flop extensions in Las Vegas, Atlanta, Fort Worth, Nashville and Chicago, and House Hunters additions including Beach Hunters, House Hunters Family and House Hunters: Outside the Box. New entries Tiny Paradise, Lakefront Bargain Hunt Renovation and Mountain Life will be added to the net’s stable of shows about people finding their dream homes.

Food Network and Cooking Channel will introduce 50 new series and specials, and 40 returning shows. Food is the #1 most distributed cable network, while Cooking boasts 11 straight months of growth. “Entertaining and informative stories, beloved and trusted experts and personalities, plus fresh new faces, all contribute and reinforce the leadership position these brands have long been known for,” said Kathleen Finch, chief programming, content and brand officer, Scripps Networks Interactive. Food Network’s 2017 slate includes Iron Chef Gauntlet, Guy Fieri docu-series Guy’s Big Project (wt) slated for Q4, digital star Hannah Hart in Hungry Hart (wt), and Help My Yelp, hosted by Monti Carlo. On the menu for Cooking Channel are culinary competition Farmer’s Market Flip and Late Night Eats.

Up 11% year over year in 2016, Travel Channel has commissioned over 390 new hours of programming. Newcomers include Legend Has It, hosted by Josh Gates (Expedition Unknown), and Caribbean Pirate Treasure, featuring Philippe Cousteau, grandson of legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau. DIY will have 301 hours of new original programming in 2017, including 12 new series, 27 returning favorites and 22 specials. “DIY Network’s impressive seven percent year-over-year ratings gain and the 54 percent year-over-year increase in its digital, social and OTT platform video views confirm the popularity of the gritty, but fun process of home renovation,” said Allison Page, general manager, U.S. programming and development for HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and Great American Country. Great American Country, which had its highest-rated year since 2007 among A25-54 in primetime, is delivering 254 hours of programming focused on road trips, RV living and cabins. “Families who are out there enjoying the great outdoors attract a big audience,” notes Page.

While the Scripps nets performed well last year, Steinlauf predicts the best is yet to come. “Looking back at 2016, the story was very much the news ratings. CNN, MSNBC and Fox News had extraordinary ratings runs. The amount of audience that shifted from all other sources into cable news was the story of the year,” Steinlauf tells Cynopsis. “For us to have grown in that kind of climate says something.” And when the news ratings come back to earth? “There will be a lot of audience that becomes available to other channels,” notes the exec. “Our performance last year understates how well we’re going to do down the road.”

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