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‘Celebrity IOU’ Deep Dive: Viewership and Advertising Trends for HGTV’s New Hit

On April 13, HGTV debuted its new unscripted show Celebrity IOU, which features the network’s dynamic, twin-brother duo Drew and Jonathan Scott — of Property Brothers fame — working with celebrities on renovations for people who are special to them. The network pushed promos for the show hard, and less than a month in, it’s already been renewed for a second season, set to air in early 2021.

We took a look at viewership and advertising trends for HGTV’s latest feel-good hit, using insights from Inscape and iSpot. 

Viewership Trends via Inscape

According to Inscape, the TV data company with insights from a panel of more than 14 million smart TVs, from April 13 through May 5, Celebrity IOU was the No. 1 show on HGTV based on the percent of households watching. 

Inscape’s DMA data shows a fairly even spread of household tune-in for Celebrity IOU across the U.S., with hotspots including Alpena, MI; Zanesville, OH; Traverse City-Cadillac, MI; Myrtle Beach-Florence, SC; and Parkersburg, WV.

Via Inscape

Here’s a look at minute-by-minute viewership for the Celebrity IOU premiere on April 13. Tune-in increased gradually as the episode progressed.  

Via Inscape

The following week, HGTV re-aired the premiere before the second episode, and you can see viewership increasing, with a spike as the new one began.

Via Inscape

When it comes to other shows watched by Celebrity IOU viewers, HGTV favorites dominate, led by Property Brothers: Forever Home, Home Town, My Lottery Dream Home, Flip or Flop and House Hunters. A few Food Network shows also make the top 20 list: The Kitchen, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, The Pioneer Woman, Kids Baking Championship and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Via Inscape

Advertising Insights via iSpot

According to iSpot.tv, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company, there have been 947 million TV ad impressions served up during Celebrity IOU so far (that number includes reruns of the first few episodes), and brands have spent an estimated $8 million advertising during the show. Lowe’s, Wayfair, Progressive, Kia and Overstock.com lead for brand spend. It’s worth noting that Lowe’s and Wayfair also lead for spend during recent episodes of Property Brothers: Forever Home

Looking specifically at dayparts, primetime Mondays lead for impressions — of course, as that’s when the new episodes air — but in second and third place, respectively, are Saturday and Sundays, when HGTV airs reruns and people have time to catch up on episodes. 

iSpot also has attention analytics that measure viewer attention to ads, such as the iSpot Attention Score*, which shows which ads had the highest percentage played through a TV device. On average, ads during Celebrity IOU have an iSpot Attention Score of 94.66. Diving into specifics, a few brands stand out when it comes to capturing viewer attention. Of the brands with over 15 million TV ad impressions:

  • Life (the cereal)
    • Attention Score: 97.37
  • iRobot
    • Attention Score: 96.05
  • Wayfair
    • Attention Score: 95.90
  • Lowe’s
    • Attention Score: 95.56

One last general note about Celebrity IOU’s network, HGTV:

While spend, impressions and attention are important measures for TV advertising, every marketer is ultimately concerned about ad effectiveness. iSpot’s benchmarks, including the iSpot Lift Rating, measure the causal impact of TV advertising on key performance indicators (KPIs); put simply, lift reflects new business driven by TV ad placements. 

In April, HGTV delivered an iSpot Lift Rating for the eCommerce category of 33.74%, a Lift Rating of 29.09% for the weight loss category and a Lift Rating of 28.35% for insurance — all above that month’s average of 25.68% across all categories iSpot measured. 

*iSpot Attention Score – Measures the propensity of consumers to interrupt an ad play on TV. The higher the score, the more complete views. Actions that interrupt an ad play include changing the channel, pulling up the guide, fast-forwarding or turning off the TV.