Scripps’ HGTV Network, which reaches 99 million U.S. households on air, and 5 million unique visitors per month online, announced today that it is partnering with Cox’s Kudzu in a broad agreement with many moving parts.
The deal will provide HGTV’s on-air and online viewers with Kudzu’s local directory and social media information on home repairs and service providers. The relationship with Kudzu will eventually extend to Scripps’ other “shelter” sites, which include DIY Network and FrontDoor.com, the women-oriented real estate site.
Kudzu, for its part, is being given access to HGTV’s extensive archive of “how to” footage, as well as access to HGTV’s e-mail lists and social media, which will be used to generate reviews. It will also get on-air visibility.
The two companies have a revenue share agreement in place for related local and national advertising. Kudzu is ramping up its local sales, and may add some local sales partnerships. HGTV, for its part, has many national accounts with kitchen and home companies that can localize into Kudzu.
Specifics of the rev share are not being disclosed. No equity in Kudzu, which is solely owned by Cox, is involved in the current arrangement.
Kudzu was launched by Cox Search in October 2005 as an effort to get into the “high consideration” home services arena, alongside ServiceMagic and Angie’s List. Since then, several other companies have joined the fray, including Done Right, Redbeacon, HelpHive, Thumbtack, LikeList and LocalPrice.
Kudzu initially was taking a city-by-city approach, but has since rolled out with a localized national service. It still maintains physical presences in Atlanta, San Diego, Phoenix and Las Vegas.
Tom Bates, general manager of Kudzu.com and vice president of Cox Search, says the site has proved its model in its physical markets, with especially strong usage in Atlanta. While Kudzu is already profitable, Bates says that “we’re excited. This is a good boost for us. The field is crowded, but we don’t think it’s sewn up yet in high-consideration home services.”
Bates adds that HGTV was actively thinking about how to get into the local space. “They were familiar with the folks in the market,” he says. “They know that what we do it is hard work. It isn’t like selling Sherwin-Williams [the national paint company], although that is difficult in its own way.”