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Despite the fact HGTV has been dealing with some Flip or Flop drama thanks to the couples’ high profile split in recent weeks, HGTV is doing rather well with its business model. The company opted to pull content from Netflix this month hoping to make more moolah, which makes sense, because as it turns out HGTV spends a ton of money to produce new content each year. The amount? $400 million.

That’s right, HGTV spends $400 million a year to create content for viewers, which includes stuff like new episodes of Fixer Upper, Property Brothers and Love It or List It. That’s a lot of money spent on unscripted content, especially when you consider that Netflix spent only $100 million more in the past year (aka $500 million) to produce its original shows, including more expensive scripted content.

However, this is where the numbers get a little tricky. While Netflix spent $500 million to produce a whopping 600 hours of television, HGTV was able to stretch its budget–assumedly thanks to the unscripted aspect–to 900 hours of brand new programs in 2016. That’s more than 900 individual episodes of TV, as a lot of HGTV’s programming is half-hour content. It’s also more programming than a lot of people watch in a whole year. And we wonder why our cable bill is so high…

Still, it’s a concept that is certainly paying off for the network. This year, HGTV came in third among the cable networks in terms of overall viewership. The other two cable channels were Fox News and ESPN. The former is not a shock at all considering its ratings, but since ESPN has seen its viewership slip somewhat, we’re a little more surprised about that network also crushing. Still, putting HGTV against the likes of those seemingly much more prominent networks.

Per Bloomberg, what has set HGTV apart is its programming, programming that tries to be pleasant and not get too intense. Sure you may see couples have a few arguments on the network’s shows, but people aren’t discussing politics or living paycheck to paycheck. In addition, there’s no violence, profanity or other foul comments on these TV shows, and the HGTV audience, at least, seems to appreciate that. CEO Ken Lowe told the outlet:

We’re not going to surprise you. We’re not going to throw you a curve ball. It’s not easy to create content that people are passionate about and somewhat addicted to that is somewhat repetitive.

We don’t often get a ton of insight into how much networks are spending to please their audiences, and today’s information is some nice insight, at the very least, although it’s a little surprising to consider how much shows that we presume are made on a relatively small budget still cost. To find out what is headed to TV soon, check out our midseason TV premiere schedule.

January 3, 2017

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