Press "Enter" to skip to content

Dream Homes and Personal Stories: Why Renovation Programs Hook

A ramshackle kitchen, a gloomy living room and an old-fashioned bathroom give way to sleek, sunny rooms with the latest trend furniture. By throwing down a wall here and putting a piece of furniture there, everything changes. The house is like new. While the dubbing exaggerates the owners' reaction to seeing their renovated home, the viewer imagines what it would be like to live there or how that kitchen would fit into their apartment. Television sells dreams, and reform programs make them come true. Productions about home renovations have been attracting thousands of viewers for years, but since the COVID locked half of humanity in their homes and forced them to look at the same walls day after day, their audience has grown and some networks have redoubled their bet on them.

This is the case of DKiss. The DTT channel began to program reform content in 2018 and since then it has issued 92 different titles of formats of this type. In 2021 alone, 75 different titles have passed through its grid, and it currently broadcasts 40 hours a week of formats belonging to this genre. Susana Ortega, director of Antena de DKiss, emphasizes that no other open channel has such an extensive catalog of reform programs.

More information
The TV enters the homes of our neighbors. And we love

” It was important to start with titles that the Spanish viewer already knew, whose presenters were already known and had appeared on other channels, ”explains Ortega. They are programs like Your house on trial or the spaces of the Scott twins. They are already true stars in this genre and have starred in more than 400 hours of television, a fact that makes them the absolute kings of the genre. The American pay channel HGTV on which its spaces are broadcast is exclusively dedicated to renovation and decoration formats. In 2020, it was the most watched non-news cable channel in the United States among women aged 25 to 54 (75% of its audience is female), and it had an average audience of 1,360,000 viewers, 5% more than in 2019 .

An image of the program 'Your house on trial'. CATHERINE NGUUYEN

TO Divinity is also directed by a mostly female audience, another of the channels that are strongly committed to this genre in Spain and the first to be open to dedicate part of its programming to reforms. Sergio Calderón, its director, explains that these spaces provide very good audience data to the channel on weekend mornings. Your house on trial , with more than 600 emissions only in 2021, averaging a 3.1% share of screen, with a growth of 7% compared to its data before the pandemic, and is well above the 1.9% average of Divinity so far this year. Also improve the data of the string spaces like The house of my dreams , Our own castle, What a pair of twins or SOS Gardens.

The formula for success

For Calderón, these programs combine different elements that are the formula for his success: on the one hand, transformation, classic before and after; also the human stories that they tell, the common thread of each episode and that provide the identification factor for the viewer; and finally, its aspirational character. “The viewer dreams of living in those places, which have prices well above those that can be allowed and that flirt with the world of luxury,” says Calderón.

Although those responsible for the Channels that are committed to this type of content highlight that they do not exclude any public profile, they all agree that women are their majority viewers. The audience for the reform programs is very loyal. “They are products that have several ingredients that make them very palatable for a programmer. In addition to having a price that can be adjusted to the needs of the budget of the channels, they support an intense number of repetitions, which makes them especially profitable. It is the dream of a programmer, to have a product with an average of 10 passes and that you squeeze every last one with spectacular audiences ”, says Calderón.

Twins Jonathan and Drew Scott, in one of their programs.

According to Susana Ortega, the viewers of these programs, rather than a specific title, what they are faithful to is a time slot. “But if the shows reflect big mansions, high budgets, hot climates … they work better. Everything that reflects reforms that, in principle, the viewer cannot aspire to but dreams of having, increases the audience a little ”, details the director of Antena de DKiss. ​​

After the outbreak of the pandemic, the trends in these programs have changed slightly, as Rafael Herrera, director of Antena de Ten, another of the DTT channels that bets on this content and which is currently broadcast by the British House Doctor. “Before there were much bigger programs, pharaonic reforms and big changes, and now we are betting a lot on formats of do it yourself , of recycling, of not having to throw away the whole house to get a change ”. The programs with a contest factor also stand out (two presenters who make two different reforms, unknown people who renovate houses and compete for who gets the most profitability …) and the spaces that give children the possibility of taking the reins of a reform, thereby instilling order and cleanliness. “Every year there is a twist, but they are always at the shopping table of the thematic chains, because they make the public come back on a recurring basis”, Herrera completes.

Spanish production

Compared with foreign products (the United States and Canada are the main countries of origin of these programs), domestic production has not been abundant due to its high costs. In 2007, Jorge Fernández presented the Spanish version of This house was a ruin , which had three seasons on Antena 3. In 2009, Cuatro took over with Surprise reform , presented by Nuria Roca and issued daily. The last attempt was the contest Masters of the reform , on Antena 3, in the style of MasterChef and with Manel Fuentes as presenter.

A moment of the recording of the program 'CasaTalentos', of the DeCasa channel.

Outside of free-to-air television, the real experts in Spain in renovation programs are the DeCasa channel, specialized in decoration and renovations and with about 70% of its programming of national production. Mandi Ciriza, senior vice president of lifestyle channels at AMC Networks in Spain and Latin America, recalls “the headache” that was the first Comprehensive reform that they launched about 12 years ago. “The production of reforms is very complex. Any television production involves many steps, a very long process with different trades and a very complex chain work. If you mix that with a work, which is scary … But it turned out very well and we said, let's do more ”, remember now.

DeCasa was the channel who brought the Scott brothers' programs to Spain and has pioneered reform programming. 65-70% of its audience is female and in an age range that goes from 25 to 64 years. Regarding differences between international programs and local production, the budget is a fundamental factor that determines the result. Ciriza highlights the proximity and closeness to the viewer of those produced in Spain: “Everything is done in real houses, it is not a show. People can identify with what they see, and it is something that does not happen with US programs, which is like watching a movie. ”

The before (above) and after one of the 'Comprehensive Reform' programs , from the DeCasa channel.

Susana Álvarez, deputy director of the DeCasa channel and one of the people who works most closely in their productions, explains the process to implement these spaces. After the complicated work of coming up with an idea that differentiates the program, it is time to look for houses to reform. “Any reform in which we get involved has to have the same bases: first, that it offers us a decent space, that the house be televised; second, that the owner of the house does not mind being invaded by a television crew a lot of times; and third, that we do not run out of time. And then, fight with the inconveniences, as anyone would in a reform ”, explains Álvarez. Due to those unexpected problems that may arise, the channel usually has up to four programs in the filming process at the same time.

Finally, the question that almost everyone asks when they watch a program of this guy: who pays for all this? “We are a television network, we pay for everything related to television. Then there are different formulas, but the owner always has to put something in, “replies Álvarez. A report by The New Yorker on the US channel HGTV specialized in spaces for reforms, explained that the reform is paid for with the owner's money, but that producers usually get discounts on goods and services that make the budget stretch more than normal. “Many people write saying that they would like us to do the renovation, but not even the Scott brothers give away the renovations,” concludes Álvarez.

You can follow Newsfresh TELEVISION on Twitter or sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter .

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.