Courtesy of HGTV
Courtesy of HGTV

Despite many cutting the cable cord and an era of high-quality shows, HGTV’s “House Hunters” continues to average 405 episodes a year, and hold steady on high viewership. When the housing market crashed, “House Hunters” continued to see strong ratings as foreclosure signs popped up across American neighborhoods. The program is simple: get someone looking to buy a home, film them as they select a home from three options, as viewers watch. The simplicity of the show costs a fraction of what most multi-episode scripted dramas cost. At any given time, HGTV is filming a new episode of house hunters. The program’s subtle advertising has become its crowning success.

The subtle genius of HGTV’s empire is its mastery of 'endemic advertising' : Building an alluring habitat for an advertiser’s most-sought market, and letting that audience come to them. In other words, 'House Hunters' succeeds not just in winning TV-watching homeowners — but also winning homeowner-targeting advertisers, like Home Depot, who know they’re more likely to reach who they need.

Washington Post business reporter, Drew Harwell looks at how this “comfort food” TV program has continued to be relevant.

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