Lots of networks hold sweepstakes, but HGTV has been giving away high-end real estate for almost 19 of its 20 years on the air.
“HGTV Dream Home was the first-ever home giveaway and is the biggest television sweepstakes in history,” says Kathleen Finch, president, HGTV. “It’s a huge brand-builder for HGTV. It was (HGTV’s parent Scripps Network Interactive chair/prexy/CEO) Ken Lowe’s idea and it really put HGTV on the map.”
To date, 18 HGTV Dream Homes have been given away, but the success of the original promotion has been so astounding — this year alone there were over 72.4 million entries — that in 2008 they added the HGTV Green Home Giveaway (since redubbed HGTV Smart Home Giveaway), and two years later the HGTV Urban Oasis Giveaway was added.
One of the keys to the success of these sweepstakes is that the net builds programming around each promotion. Each year, HGTV runs an annual special about the building of sister network DIY’s Blog Cabin, and DIY returns the favor by airing “Behind the Build” specials on the Dream Home and the Smart Home.
“It’s an amazing thing to watch the winner take the keys for the first time, but also to watch all of the sponsors (whose products or services are) integrated into the home just blown away by everything we do,” she says.