Some programs begin their existence inside other programming entities, the best-known example being The Simpsons, which was launched as a brief interstitial insert in Fox’s Tracey Ullman Show.
Home.Made, one of A+E Networks' long-running content blocks, is on course to follow that evolution. In the coming weeks, the portfolio’s advertising sales officials will make the case for commitments to Home.Made hours on FYI and additional hours in primetime on sister network A&E, as well as new programming blocks distributed through smart TV sets and connected devices -- either as standalone services or hooking up with multi-channel bundles.
"We’re looking for our lifestyle programming to evolve and follow the consumer," says Lisa Mallen, A+E Networks’ senior vice president of ad sales. "It will live within linear, but also expand to all of our digital video touchpoints. It will be available everywhere our lifestyle content is distributed. What’s unique about this, next to what else is out there in the market, is the multiplatform approach that it offers (content) for all ages, and encaptures everything across the board."
At the moment, Home.Made presents a variety of long- and short-form segments featuring home repair, renovation, resale and décor topics for six hours on FYI (Mondays from 6 p.m. to midnight) and three hours a week on A&E (9 a.m.-noon on Saturdays). Notable series include Sell this House, Million Dollar House Hunters, Tiny House Nation and Home.Made Hacks.
The conversion from daypart to multi-platform entity will come in phases spaced out between this fall and 2024. For phase one, scheduled for this fall, Home.Made will increase weekend hours on A&E with new original content. Primetime hours will be the objective of phase two, followed by a multi-day operation during phase three; the scheduled hours will expand incrementally each year. "You don’t want to alienate the current audience and just launch hundreds and hundreds of hours all in year one," Mallen believes. "You want to bring them along for the ride and build each year."
Early reaction to Home.Made’s expansion strategy suggests a wide variety of advertisers, not just the typical categories associated with home or apartment-themed lifestyle programs, will be on board. "We’re seeing some interest from the automotive and the hardware, décor and design space," says Mike Buccella, vice president of programming partnerships and enthusiast ad sales at A+E Networks. "We’re selling this as a brand. This offers a great benefit to (advertisers), because it gives them opportunities to integrate (in and around the content)."
Financial, technology, fast-food and package goods companies also are expressing interest in partnering -- or experimenting with non-commercial formats from quick tip moments to video commerce opportunities -- inside Home.Made. "Advertisers feel safe with this kind of content," Buccella continues. "We’re also seeing big interest among direct-to-consumer advertisers. They see a value with the block's reach and frequency."
Amid competition from other lifestyle programming services, Mallen believes the timing is right for Home.Made to grow beyond its weekend origins, given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on households across the country. "Many people are nesting -- internalizing, making or perfecting their homes and taking care of their families. People are continuing to do home improvements," she says. "We also think it’s important that there are alternatives out there in the market, so advertisers and marketers have the opportunity to expand and get greater reach with other properties."
Look for a new round of house flipping and renovation series at first, along with an increase in short-form advice segments. The format will be uniform, whether presented inside FYI or A&E, or running through a multi-channel and multi-platform bundle. "We want the viewing experience to almost be like you’re watching your Facebook feed," Buccella explains. "When you buy in the ecosystem, you get units everywhere."
Both A+E Networks executives want Home.Made to be an incubator for unique ad campaigns. Shoppable messages are under review, as well as multi-week commitments that replace commercial breaks with content featuring a client's product or services.
This expansion plan may become a template for turning enthusiast blocks into multi-platform performers across A&E, FYI and The HISTORY Channel, Buccella suggests. In addition to the Home.Made block, The HISTORY Channel currently has a multi-hour outdoor lifestyle block, Outdoor, and a car-centric block, Drive, playing on Saturday and Sunday mornings respectively, and from time to time, a HERO block with programs featuring outstanding representatives of military and first responders.
Click the social buttons to share this story with colleagues and friends.
The opinions expressed here are the author's views and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaVillage.com/MyersBizNet.