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Scripps helps Do It Yourself with synergy

Apr 8, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Synergy is a Do It Yourself proposition for the E.W. Scripps Co.
This weekend, the 10 Scripps Howard Broadcasting stations will begin airing content from the Scripps company’s 21/2-year-old Do It Yourself cable network. A total of 26 half-hour shows-drawn mainly from the cable network’s call-in show “Ask DIY,” which features expert advice on gardening, decorating, cooking and automotive and home repair-are scheduled to air during the stations’ weekend home-improvement block, mostly between 10 a.m. and noon.
Each episode will be customized for the local markets, with wraparounds featuring the particular station’s anchor talent, and will be co-branded with customized graphics, for example, “DIY Detroit” for WXYZ-TV.
The concept is an outgrowth of the vignettes featuring DIY experts that the cable network began offering the Scripps stations’ newscasts a year ago. It was the brainchild of DIY President Jim Zarchin, a former news director at Scripps-owned WCPO-TV, Cincinnati, and John Lansing, senior VP of Scripps Howard stations, who is a former general manager of Scripps-owned WEWS-TV in Cleveland.
“There’s a lot of excitement about this because it works on so many levels,” Mr. Zarchin said. “First and foremost, it’s good programming. The stations get something fresh, and it’s different. And DIY gets marketing and exposure for the network that we couldn’t buy. This is the first time we’ve had this-using the `S’ word: synergy. The stations are thrilled about this because it is content they can use and their viewers can use.”
“We have promos for DIY that explain the network and tell viewers how to get the network. We think this is really a way for us to brand and market the network so that we are a greater value to the cable operators and our advertisers.”
Mr. Lansing added, “It also occurred to me that [our] 10 stations have a very powerful reach. We cover 10 percent of the U.S. Our broadcast group could be a substantial asset to the development of the cable network brands. It’s in our best interest to do that. We’re all in the same business-the TV business.” Mr. Lansing said the localized DIY concept is already a popular one with local advertisers and that inventory is almost sold out.
Launched in September 1999, the DIY network carries close to 50 original how-to programs on subjects including home repair, decorating, crafts and hobbies-even log cabin construction and classic car restoration. It reaches 10 million homes, mostly on digital cable and via DirectTV and EchoStar’s DISH network.
The DIYnet.com Web site will augment the programs with step-by-step instructions on the projects aired, and the stations will link their sites to the DIY site.
DIY already is in preproduction on another 26 shows that will begin airing on the stations in September. DIY also plans to offer the customized half-hour shows to stations outside the Scripps company.
Mr. Lansing had success with synergy in the recent past when the Scripps stations gave a big push to sister cable network HGTV’s White House tour using promos and news inserts featuring tour excerpts. “In our markets, we outdid the national average by more than 100 percent, so it was direct causal evidence of the kind of impact we can have,” Mr. Lansing said.