Scripps Building on Web Success

Mar 6, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Scripps Networks is so encouraged by the response to its first foray into broadband video programming, it’s gearing up not only for the launch of three more such channels but also additional online video later this year.

Next up will be a broadband bath channel in April, followed by two food channels, focusing on subsets such as healthy eating. In addition, Scripps plans to produce more Web series along the lines of Food Network’s Dave Lieberman show “Eat This” and will test broadband-only Web sites that are almost completely video-based, said Ron Feinbaum, senior VP and general manager for Scripps Networks Interactive.

The company introduced HGTVkitchendesign.com to consumers Jan. 2 as the first of what ultimately will be 10 to 12 broadband channels-video-centric online destinations devoted to a specific lifestyle topic. According to research data from Nielsen//NetRatings and Web analysis firm Omniture, the kitchen design and how-to site generated more than 1 million video views in January and more than 1.1 million in February, more than double what the network expected.

The early success of the kitchen vertical is reassuring for the media company, which has been steadily upping its broadband output over the last few years, focusing on the Internet sites associated with its linear networks as its primary new media foray.

The 1 million video views in January are in addition to the 5 million that Scripps generated that month across its network of five Web sites, which include HGTV.com, foodnetwork.com, DIYnetwork.com, fineliving.com and GACtv.com.

The HGTVkitchendesign.com numbers were unexpected, Mr. Feinbaum said. “I would have been pleased with 400,000 video views,” he said. “We don’t always go for home runs. We are looking for singles and doubles. I am defining this as a triple.”

The site is sticky too. According to Scripps, visitors spent more than eight minutes on the site on average. Also, of the top 10 videos played, six were watched for more than two minutes and all were watched for at least 90 seconds, the company said.

With those videos come ads. The site is serving up about 138,000 ads and 225,000 videos per week, a little more than one ad for every two videos viewed, Scripps said. That’s all incremental growth for the network because those are new ad dollars.

In addition, about 99 percent of the video is repurposed from Scripps’ existing content library. “If it’s repurposed, there is very little cost to it. There is people power and encoding power,” Mr. Feinbaum said.

Scripps said it has sizably grown its video viewership online. In 2004, the Scripps Web sites were clocking in at about 300,000 to 600,000 video views per month, the company said. Two years later, it said, the average has reached 6 million. That’s partly because the company is offering more video to meet viewer demand.

Using What Works

Because the early results suggest there is a hearty appetite for the lifestyle video online, Scripps will stay the course and use the same look and feel for the upcoming bathroom-centric channel. It will include about 200 videos at launch, with about 40 new ones added each month. The kitchen design channel followed that same formula and now counts about 300 videos, said Jim Sexton, senior VP of Scripps Networks Interactive.

January ranked as the most popular month ever for the Scripps Web sites, the company said, with 16.8 million unique visitors and 566 million page views, driven in part because of the popular HGTV Dream Home Giveaway that generated more than 1 million entries each day for 22 days on HGTV.com.

That’s helping the kitchen design channel, Scripps said, because the majority of its visitors are arriving there through HGTV.com, which is linked to the channel. Scripps has also been marketing the broadband channel on TV, in its e-newsletters and through search engine keywords.

HGTVkitchendesign Draws Traffic

January 2006

  • 554,000 unique visitors

  • 2.5 million page views

  • Viewers on average spent more than eight minutes at the site.

  • Six of the top 10 videos accessed had average time spent of more than two minutes, and all 10 averaged more than 1.5 minutes.

    Source: Scripps Networks,