Scripps Networks Builds Video Library

By Staff Published on .

Situation: Scripps Networks interactive division, rich in how-to video, pulls in more sales than the company's DIY and Fine Living cable channels. Scripps launched its first network Web site in May 1996 with and since then has built up content steadily, creating an online business that has been profitable since 2003.

The interactive division ranks third for the company in sales, behind the networks HGTV and Food Network. The portfolio of sites–,,,,, and–generate about 14 to 15 million unique visitors per month and about 10 million video views per month, averaged across July through October 2007.

That’s up from 7.5 million video views per month for the same period a year ago. About 5,000 videos reside across those sites.

The media company counts 15 staffers completely dedicated to Web video, with other Web site staffers who work on video in some capacity. Scripps also works with its production partners to create online video as an accompaniment to many of its popular on-air shows.

Company: Scripps Networks

Industry: Media Company

Video play: Original content on lifestyle and home improvement

Strategy: Scripps creates orginal video and takes clips from shows to distribute on its sites and across the Web.

Result: How-to videos, such as Scott Sicari's how-to on installing a kitchen backsplash help attract users to the company's sites. The backsplash video has pulled in more than 1 million views.

The Web division reports to Deanna Brown, president of Scripps Networks Interactive. Most of the Web video staffers worked on text Web content previously; now they have added video to their responsibilities. Scripps runs the videos on its sites and syndicates to Yahoo, and MSN.

The most popular videos on the sites are of the how-to variety, said Jeff Meyer, senior VP interactive sales at Scripps.

“How-to videos tend to play very well. What has been least watched are when we have gotten fancy and asked users to interact with choosing videos,” he said.

Mr. Meyer said he measures profitability of Web video as part of the overall business of the Web sites. Video is driving overall views and traffic to the sites as well as interest from advertisers.

“I don’t go out and sell just video. Whenever I sell something it’s in conjunction with everything else,” he said. Advertisers will often spend more to have video included in a buy, he said.

Scripps doesn't disclose prices for advertising linked to its video.

The key to cost efficiency is finding opportunities to piggyback on to existing on-air content and shoot extra material for the Web.

“Users expect video on the site because of the association with the TV brands and it’s part of the brand promise,” Mr. Meyer added.

Web video content costs range from zero (when the network uses bonus material from TV shows) to $12,000 and greater per video. Most original videos are less than $5,000 to $6,000 each.

Problem: In 2006, The Web team noticed that “kitchen backsplash” was one of the most popular search terms on, said Peter Clem, VP of video production, programming and operations. (Backsplashes are wall treatments placed behind countertops to contain messes and add a decorative touch.) That presented an opportunity to create content to satisfy consumers’ interest in the subject matter.

Solution: Scripps reached out to Philadelphia-based production company, Banyan, known for its work producing TLC show “Trading Spaces,” to create an original Web series on kitchen backsplashes.

The host of the Web series was Scott Sicari, who had appeared on “Trading Spaces.” The series was shot in one location, a loft in Philadelphia. The entire series of eight episodes was shot in a week.

A designer created eight backsplashes, and the crew put each up, filmed, and ripped it out to install the next one. Each of the eight videos cost about $7,000 to produce, including the cost of material, labor, production company fees, development, script, talent and crew.

Scripps posted all eight episodes on in October 2006. The videos also ran on and and are accessible on and Scripps marketed the series on the home pages of and and promoted the series in its e-mail newsletter to subscribers.

Scripps also provided step-by-step instructions on the site to help people make their own backsplashes.

“Most people viewed the videos before going to the instructions, ” Mr. Clem said.

Evaluation: By October 2007, the backsplash videos had generated 1 million views. Mr. Clem and his team are developing more ideas for original Web series and are currently producing a show on powder rooms for

--Daisy Whitney

Scripps Networks' library of video, including how-to's, has turned into potent part of their revenue strategy.

Most Popular