06/14/18: Lifestyle Special Report

Inspiring and Entertaining Superfans Around the World
On Every Screen
20% Cable Share of Adults & Women 25-54
8000 Hours of Original Programming Produced Annually
7 Billion Video Views a Month Across the Portfolio
Discovery Channel. HGTV. Food Network. TLC. ID. OWN. Animal Planet. Travel Channel. Science.
DIY Network. Cooking Channel.
By Cathy Applefeld Olson
In our ever Instagrammable world, lifestyle programming is a perennial hot spot for programmers that shines particularly bright during the summer months. From franchises that feel like family to newly sprouted spinoffs and additions, lifestyle shows continue to draw viewers, and advertisers, to the screen.
Kathleen Finch, who with the recent Discovery-Scripps merger now manages lifestyle brands across a towering monolith of networks, tells Cynopsis she’s primarily focusing on TLC, ID, Food, HGTV and Travel – and using best practices from each network in hopes of growing individual audiences across the entire portfolio.
“My goal is not to make them clones of one another but to maximize the large and passionate fan bases they each track. A lot of the learning is going on back and forth,” she says.
The symbiosis is already at work. HGTV in May debuted a new season of Flip or Flop, whose hosts Tarek and Christina El Moussa recently went through a very public divorce. “Normally at HGTV we would’ve shied away from the story of their divorce but after diving into what TLC does so well with their dramatic storytelling, what we decided to do was layer that into the new season so the show looks a little different,” Finch says.
The combined companies also have a larger talent pool in which to immerse. Property Brother Drew Scott was featured on a recent TLC wedding special, and a host from TLC’s Say Yes To the Dress turned up as a judge on just launched Food Network series Wedding Cake Challenge. “We’re taking all those TLC wedding fans and marrying them all with the Food Network competition fans and they had a baby that’s called Wedding Cake Challenge,” Finch says.

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Discovery Channel. HGTV. Food Network. TLC. ID. OWN. Animal Planet. Travel Channel. Science. DIY Network. Cooking Channel.

At Bravo, which is programmed around the passion points of food, fashion travel, real estate and design, viewers can find a little of all of the above wrapped in the Real Housewives ZIP code of their liking – the Orange County edition is back in mid-July – or do a deeper dive into any number of aspirational offerings. Million Dollar Listing: New York kicked off its seventh season this week and the third season of Below Deck Mediterranean will run through the summer, to name a few.
Shari Levine, Bravo EVP of current production, tells Cynopsis the network is always on the lookout for new content that jibes with its lifestyle leanings.
“Sometimes there’s a space we identify internally and we go look there, and other times people come to us with a cast and we think it’s an interesting idea,” Levine says. “We’re always looking at what is next white space we should be looking at. It feels like everything’s been explored, but everything hasn’t been or sometimes things have been explored but not explored well.”
Hallmark Channel continues to see big success programming content around touchpoints that enable viewers to connect with various seasonal lifestyles. What began as original content centered around the winter holidays has expanded exponentially into Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, and the new third annual June Weddings programming event, which recently saw big ratings for the network’s first new movie in the suite. Hallmark additionally has been retooling its flagship lifestyle series Home & Family and last month let go of longtime host Mark Steines.

While it is still rooted in the arts, Ovation is weaving more lifestyle content than ever into its roster. The network’s summer lineup explores food, music and culture in celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s American Road Trip, beauty and culture with Rachel Hunter in Tour of Beauty, and Jamie & Jimmy’s Food Fight Club featuring childhood friends Oliver and Jimmy Doherty.
“Our programming strategy is a mixture of staying true to our roots in the arts and branching out into other types of cultural programming,” says Scott Woodward, Ovation EVP of programming. “We are doing that through our linear channel, as well as via our app JOURNY, which focuses on cultural exploration and travel experiences.” There’s some crossover between the two, Woodward says, “because these categories are so complementary.”
“The U.S. lifestyle market is evolving faster than ever by offering more choices to make life better,” says Rajeev Kheror, president of health- and entertainment-centric Z Living, which has been ramping up its original content offerings during the past year in the areas of food, physical activity, health and factual entertainment.
“Z Living viewers are most focused on and attracted to programs that actually show them how to improve their lives. This we have achieved through a variety of lifestyle shows, talk shows and reality programming that feature true stories about people who have changed their health and lifestyles for the better.”
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With a 20% cable share of M25-54
Led by, Discovery Channel. Travel Channel. Science. MotorTrend.
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Discovery Channel. HGTV. Food Network. TLC. ID. OWN. Animal Planet. Travel Channel. Science. DIY Network. Cooking Channel. Source.

Platform Extensions
Of course a key component to all viewers’ lifestyles these days is their desire to access programming when and where they want it, and the ability to more deeply connect with the brands and talent that speak to them.
To that end, Z Living is in the process of launching its own OTT play, soon to be available on the website and other platforms. “This will deliver the network to a broader audience, including those who don’t always experience TV in a traditional way, and are digital natives,” Kheror says.
Ovation is evolving new ways to embrace the digital landscape as well. Jamie’s American Road Trip will be available first on the company’s JOURNY, from July 4-October 31, before it migrates to the television on Ovation in November.
Digital engagement is top of mind at Bravo, whose .com content is led by its army of “bravolebrities” and heavily complements its on-air offerings. “Our talent is very socially engaged, and all of their social media is popping in the summer,” Levine says. Also highly trafficked are verticals around the net’s lifestyle passion points, she says, particularly in the travel, real estate and fashion realms.
Discovery’s lifestyle networks, too, are activating all over the digital landscape with a recent Food Network original debut on Apple TV, and new entries in the app community. With digital extensions, “we can translate the brand into something even more useful for people who watch television, and even for those who don’t,” Finch says.
Another important platform, Finch notes, has nothing at all to do with a screen. “Live events are incredibly important, especially among millennials,” she says, noting the popularity, for one, of the Brainfood events staged by Spoon University, which Scripps acquired last year.
“We’ve been having really good luck, especially with Food Network where our millennial audience was up 15 percent in May. A lot of that has to do with getting the brands off the television and out in the real world,” Finch says.
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Lifestyle Content Ad-Vantages
For advertisers, lifestyle content continues to offer bountiful opportunities to connect with audiences while they are relaxing and embracing the very passions with which brands want to engage them.
The opportunities reach beyond integrations at Discovery, says Jon Steinlauf, the company’s chief U.S. advertising sales officer. “We have the ability to target and pinpoint exact audiences our clients want to reach,” he tells Cynopsis. “Now all of our channels are available on Discovery Engage, our data platform for personalized advanced targeting. We can deliver on advertiser objectives for both scale and data insights, plus creative solutions that will raise the profile of their brands by connecting them to ours.”
Steinlauf adds that in the flood of scripted drama, Discovery – and lifestyle content in general – offer a different kind of connection. “Viewers come to us because they just love home, food, travel, animals, adventure or ‘feel good’ shows,” he says. “While the main characters remain consistent from episode to episode, each is self-contained with a beginning, middle and end that can be wrapped up in 30 or 60 minutes.”
Cynopsis Ad Sales
Mike Farina | 203-218-6480
VP, Sales
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Director of Operations

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