Scripps to Launch Two HD Channels in 2006

Scripps Networks is doubling up on an earlier commitment to provide a HD channel in the home, food and lifestyle categories (which it helped popularize in the analog realm by introducing HD versions of its HGTV home and garden programming in January 2006, and the Food Network in the second quarter of next year.)

Scripps execs said once they started looking at the "unique offerings" both channels offered--compared to what is currently being offered (or not) to viewers in HD, they shifted their strategy in order to take full advantage their branding potential. Consequently, Scripps Networks is more than doubling the hours of HD production originally planned, with more than 1,000 hours currently scheduled. New specials and series--including "Extreme Homes of Europe," "My First Place" and "Offbeat America" will contribute to 400 HD hours on HGTV, supplemented by 100 hours from DIY Network.

Food Network, too, will feature an additional 400 HD hours of original content, including "Food Vacation" shot on location in Italy, Alton Brown's "Good Eats," and "Giada's Italian Holiday: with Giada Delaurentis. Scripps Networks believes it can offer viewers and distributors a new experience beyond the visual, albeit sometime short-term pleasures, of HD, depending on content.

"You tend to get seduced in the beginning by the pretty pictures, but that wears off," the company said in a statement. "It's more than panoramic video that will drive the demand for high definition. The power of the [HDTV and Food Network] brands themselves will drive interest in high definition in the same way they drive viewing in basic analog services, VOD and broadband."

HGTV and Food Network primarily attract adults in the 25-54 age demographic. Scripps says both lifestyle networks typically do well with male and female viewers (compared with the strong male skew of a lot of current HD content, especially live sports).