I’ve written about it before.
Early that one morning when I received a phone call from a co-worker that said, “go turn on the TV and get a look at the new format the AOL folks created for Headline News.”
I ended up as shocked as my co-worker when we saw what the AOL folks had done to Headline News. Clearly, they decided Headline News would be the Guinea Pig of their vision to merge the web with the broadcast nets.
I am sorry.
It is a simple fact.
It is really, really difficult for left-brain techies to understand the genre dynamics authored by right-brain set designers.
The reason I bring that morning back to life is that I just received the actual rollout issue of HGTV Magazine. The issue I received back in March was their “beta test” edition.
In my work with home décor and design clients, I am fueling their marketing precision right now with some very cool target groups that go by nicknames like “High Society Designers,” “Blue Sky Homesteaders,” “Traditional Classics” and “Design Mavens.”
HGTV posts the highest readership with the “Design Mavens.” This is that mix of DINKS, high-income families and trendy empty-nesters.
When it comes to magazine readership, “Design Mavens” love to kick back with pubs like Food & Wine, Traditional Home, InStyle, Bon Appétit and Architectural Digest.
Those pubs have their editorial text, but when you turn to the showcase section of each pub, there are lots of pictures spanning from side-to-side of the pub with some spanning across two full pages.
If you cannot picture this yet, all you need to do is hit the web and go over to Pinterest and take a look at the postings of “Design Mavens.” Its like walking into the museum of interior design.
HGTV does a very good job with its programming… perhaps, in large part, because of the Canadian ties where it is way too cold most of the year to really care about much outside the front door of the home.
HGTV shows score well with their before-and-afters coupled with great hosts who add personality to the real estate.
And while set-designers are right-brain driven, most marketing leadership is left-brain driven thanks to the MBA academics who craft the headsets to understand bottomline economics.
So here is where we come to the crux of the issue – literally!
Repeat after me what the consumers voice to marketers 24/7… “Don’t tell me about you… Tell me about me.”
Give me great stories in the magazine about wonderful homes, rooms and spaces that I can fantasize about and transport myself into to share the experience.
While there are some good ideas in the magazine, they are lost in what appears like the television network with uncontrollable ADHD.
From cover-to-cover it features the personality stars, quips from the shows, featured products and ads promoting the shows.
Literally the first story is titled “Who will be the next design star” and it features quips and quotes of each of the contestants.
More than 75% of the articles feature a picture of one of the HGTV hosts and the stories are extensions of the television shows.
What I remember most about the Headline News fiasco is that it just might have been the springboard that got the AOL Team off the Time-Warner production sets.
In many ways, I really hope that I am wrong on this one.
HGTV, the cable network and HGTV branded retail products are not only clients of mine, but I personally love watching HGTV. I am addicted to watching many of the shows and craft my evenings around the schedule.
I subscribed to HGTV to add more to my times with Elle Decor, House & Home and Architectural Digest.
My subscription to this magazine is good for eleven more issues.
To those who read this blog, I promise to provide an update of just what HGTV Magazine evolves into this fall.
Just remember… for all the mistakes that AOL made with Headline News, that network is still airing!