UKTV saw the need for home and garden programming in the UK and will give the viewers what they want on April 30 with the newly launched lifestyle channel Home. Home channel head Clare Laycock says the channel, a rebranded version of UKTV Style, has moved away from the broad lifestyle programming of UKTV Style to the clearly defined home and garden genre, a destination that was previously untapped in the UK. While preparing to kick off Home at the end of the month with new commission Gutted and a new website, lovehome.co.uk, Laycock takes realscreen through the soon to be launched channel.
Why did you feel a need to tackle the home and garden genre?
We’ve been reviewing all of our lifestyle channels and we did a huge amount of audience research last summer to really look into what’s the best lineup. What we clearly found was that home was the clear driver in lifestyle. That’s what people loved the most. We thought we do have home content but we don’t really shout about it and what we should do is be really clear about it. What we don’t want to do is put off people with a name like UKTV Style, which is the current title. It’s quite an ambiguous name; it could mean fashion, it could mean all sorts of things so we thought we’d be very clear about what the channel is. That’s sort of playing to our strengths, we felt.
What kind of programming will be featured on Home?
We have a spectrum of content. At one end we have the domestic home content so [that includes] renovating your house, making the most out of the space that you live in, [which is] particularly important now what with people not moving houses. At the other end of the spectrum is the fantasy escapism element, which we certainly have a healthy dose of. It’s about what we all dream about, which is having a house by the sea or whatever your particular fantasy home might be, so anything along that scale.
Some of the existing content will transfer. The stuff that our core audience really loves, [like] DIY SOS, Escape to the Country, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition from the US.
What about the garden element?
The bulk of the content will be home but there will be some garden content. The type of garden content we’ll be transmitting is more of the garden design content [such as] thinking of gardens as an extension of your home, rather than how to plant your carrots or potatoes.
What should producers know about Home before pitching to you?
Producers should keep in mind that we would like to find new angles on homes. Obviously home makeover and home renovation is always really popular, but it would be lovely to have twists on that, to reinvent the genre a little bit, but still [be] giving viewers what they really love, which is that whole transformational element.