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Slimprofits
05-15-08, 02:03 PM
I thought for sure that these shows would have been canceled by now, but the gloryfication of house-flipping goes on. When can we expect Clip that Coupon to debut?

America's Last Booming Real-Estate Market (http://www.forbes.com/business/2008/05/14/real-estate-television-biz-media-cx_ha_0514hometv.html)



...But one real estate-related industry has proved surprisingly resilient: home and garden television shows. Networks emphasizing the joys and financial benefits of setting concrete pavers, taping drywall and valuing real estate are riding out the downturn with no signs of flagging.
Programming executives and media buyers attribute the stoicism to consumers' unrelenting preoccupation with the worth of their real estate, as well as a desire for escapism and entertainment piqued all the more by a bleak economic forecast.

"We try to reflect not the market itself, but what are viewers are feeling about their homes" says Brant Pinvidic, senior vice president of programming for TLC. No matter what the market looks like, Pinvidic and his counterparts say, homeowners are unfailingly curious about their properties' value, and moreover, what they can do to maximize it.

What's hot? Shows like House Hunters, My First Place and My House Is Worth What? says Laura Sillars, HGTV's vice president of original programming. "Because no matter what, that's still people's biggest investment," she says, adding: "Even with the housing market, it's still obviously relevant to people."

Prime-time viewership for HGTV increased from 970,000 in the first quarter of 2006 to 1,059,000 in the first quarter of 2007, according to Nielsen statistics. That figure jumped to 1,102,000 during the first quarter of 2008, though it is likely the 100-day writers' strike, during which many viewers abandoned affected channels with scripted shows in favor of cable networks touting new content, contributed to this year's inflated ratings. For TLC, whose property shows include Flip That House, Property Ladder and Trading Spaces, prime-time viewership climbed from 791,000 in 2006 to 897,000 in 2007 and peaked at 941,000 in the first quarter of this year.

Content for HGTV and TLC is planned anywhere from six months to three years in advance, network executives say, so it's impossible to react, in a timely fashion, to any current ripples in the housing market. Faced with that limitation, networks say they strive to tape shows that are applicable no matter what leaps and dips the market makes--and, in some cases, they can capitalize on consumers' strong concerns about how their property value can survive a downturn.

"A couple of years ago, it was like, 'What can I sell my house for!', with a big exclamation point," Pinvidic says. Now, though, "there's a little bit more uncertainty there, and I think we like to see the programming reflect that."

It can even increase the drama. Despite the market backlash against real estate speculation, TLC's Flip That House is still going strong. It follows the transformation of a different house from purchase to sale, closing every episode with what actually resulted, financially-speaking, for the "flippers" after production closed. The network hopes viewers keep tuning in for tips on how to increase their homes' value in light of the current market downturn.

Ironically, the downturn may be helping in another way, media buyers say. Viewers are not only spending more time at home--presumably in front of their televisions--but are also seeking an antidote to everyday anxieties, economic or otherwise.

"When the economy is slow and times are troubled, this type of stuff can help you forget that for a little bit," says media buyer Brad Adgate. "That doesn't mean they can't at least be aspirational, or have some kind of fantasy about doing that, or wishful thinking, or escapism."


Escapism is for the weak.

GRG55
05-15-08, 11:34 PM
Escapism is for the weak.

If the US economy is really spinning down into a linked series of recessions, as EJ suggests, then catering to escapism will be big business if the movie industry during the 1930's is anything to go by.

Slimprofits
05-16-08, 12:08 AM
If the US economy is really spinning down into a linked series of recessions, as EJ suggests, then catering to escapism will be big business if the movie industry during the 1930's is anything to go by.

Foreignors that have survived much worse laugh at us.

BiscayneSunrise
05-16-08, 07:42 AM
Foreignors that have survived much worse laugh at us.

while at the same time, envy us.

quigleydoor
05-16-08, 02:16 PM
The HGTV and TLC real estate shows are mostly junk, it's true. But some of them begin to fill a void which, as EJ pointed out, was created when "home economics" type education was phased out in the 1960s. I'm talking about the budget-oriented shows, like "Design on a Dime", which show examples of cheap home improvements.

They could do a lot more. There is now a growing need for home budget based thinking. I can imagine a whole variety of educational shows based on a premise like, "Now that I've gotten myself into this situation, what is the best way to spend a limited amount of money/effort to make things better?"

ocelotl
05-23-08, 01:51 PM
while at the same time, envy us.

Not always, not everyone.

Sidewinder
05-23-08, 05:24 PM
The HGTV and TLC real estate shows are mostly junk, it's true. But some of them begin to fill a void which, as EJ pointed out, was created when "home economics" type education was phased out in the 1960s. I'm talking about the budget-oriented shows, like "Design on a Dime", which show examples of cheap home improvements.

They could do a lot more. There is now a growing need for home budget based thinking. I can imagine a whole variety of educational shows based on a premise like, "Now that I've gotten myself into this situation, what is the best way to spend a limited amount of money/effort to make things better?"

Seems they should be starting series on sustainable vegetable gardens, or home-built solar hot water systems...