You Know Who Else Loves Tiny Houses? Fucking Everyone.

I read an article in Bloomberg at the end of last year with simple yet surprising message that deeply excited me:

HGTV is the 3rd most watched cable network in the United States

The rank of most viewed networks is: Fox News, ESPN, HGTV, and CNN. That’s not a typo, HGTV beats CNN in viewerships, even in the recent post election months.

As I’ve told this story to people in my travels, more often then not I hear people say:

I love Tiny Houses!

To which I respond:

You know who else loves Tiny Houses? Fucking Everyone.
Tiny Houses on HGTV

For cable system operators, HGTV is also one of the most affordable channels. According to Bloomberg, cable systems pay HGTV a mere $.23 a subscriber compared to $7.21 for ESPN. In all fairness, HGTV content isn’t very expensive to produce compared to sports rights or original dramas.

The WSJ visualized this in a different fashion with the same conclusion, mapping out cable networks revenue per viewing household.

WSJ: Revenue Per Viewer

The lower right corner of the chart is the best value. It’s where networks with high average viewership and low cost to cable systems sit. Hallmark Channel is the dot to the right of HGTV. The upper left of the chart is where expensive channels with low viewership sit: Golf Channel is one of those dots. The full table is here.

There is a belief that everyone loves live sports. As someone who has never liked sports, I’ve always felt like a bit of an outsider. I watch dramas and comedies on demand, and tune in live to news, business news, and “relaxing programming” like HGTV, Travel, and Food (ironically all owned by Scripps). This last category of programming, is surprisingly important and often underestimated. You could argue that it could be easily duplicated or competed against by a new entrant, but that doesn’t make the category of content any less important, or economical to bundlers of video programming.

One final thought on content type. Video content that is non-appointment in nature must either provide a live, window on the world or remove the stress and hassle of the viewer needing to actively choose. HGTV obviously fills the second category.

In addition, the content is highly relatable. Everyone wants to fix up a house or apartment on a budget. Everyone wants to live in a Tiny House.

I explain Tiny Houses to Rich Greenfield
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