media update’s Aisling McCarthy chats to Discovery’s head of lifestyle, Tatiana Lagewaard, about the elements that go into creating successful shows.

What elements go into identifying new shows for lifestyle channels? What makes a show ‘the right fit’?

I think it’s important that a show is relatable and authentic. We depict real life [situations and interactions that] takes the viewer on a journey with our characters — whether it is taking the big step of buying a house (on HGTV) or getting married (on TLC).

Which are your most successful lifestyle shows? What makes them so successful with viewers and with advertisers?

One HGTV success [story] is My Lottery Dream Home — a show about lottery winners looking for a house. It’s a great show that [allows] us [to] peek into amazing and over-the-top houses but with very normal people — like you and me.

I love that the show [features] buyers who aren’t rich and famous but people whose lives have changed overnight through a lottery win. [These kinds of stories] are so much more recognisable and relatable because of that.

Other shows that are very popular are Flip or Flop, Good Bones and Fixer Upper — these shows have great talents that we follow, [but they are] real people with real businesses, [and they are] experts in their field. What they create is both inspirational and aspirational [for viewers].

HGTV launched in South Africa on Monday, 15 July. What is the target audience for this channel?

HGTV is mainly targeted at female viewers, but the great thing about it is that it is so easy
to watch together [as a family]. I think both men and women enjoy having a great home and you can get inspired about your home together through watching [some of the shows].

Tell us a bit about the motivation behind HGTV? What can viewers expect from this new channel?

HGTV is like coming home, for a number of reasons:
  • You know what you can expect — all of our shows are centered on the home and its surroundings.
  • You’ll feel comfortable — our shows are not offensive and all of a high quality.
  • You’ll like the people — our talents are very likeable and positive).
[The channel allows you to] enjoy yourself, relax and be inspired.

How has the viewership of lifestyle channels changed over the last few years? How do you expect it to perform in the coming years?

There is so much to watch everywhere that sometimes it feels overwhelming for viewers. [Having] a clearly positioned brand, like HGTV, makes it so much easier to navigate — you know exactly what you are going to get and know that it will be enjoyable, entertaining and relaxing [for the audience].

Looking at the regions where we have launched HGTV, we see very positive results that reflect this, so I feel optimistic for the future of HGTV in South Africa.

What are your predictions for the TV industry in the next 10 years? How do you see it evolving to suit consumer needs?

The TV or content world is very dynamic and there is a lot going on, so [making] predictions for the next 10 years is very hard.

However, I feel this is a very exciting time for the industry with all the developments in technology.

What do you think the future of the TV industry looks like? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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With screens everywhere, quality TV still stands out — find out why in our article.