Scripps Shoots for “Total Category Dominance”

deanna brown.jpgDropped in on the Scripps Networks upfront this morning. Deanna Brown, who’s been president of its Interactive Group for the past year, has set the rather ambitious goal of “total category dominance” for the group’s five cable properties: HGTV, Food Network, DIY, Fine Living, and GAC.

To achieve that goal, Brown is focusing on what she told advertisers is “new” new media, i.e. mobile and social channels. Given the predominance of contests, shopping lists and other participatory programming on the stations, Scripps is particularly well postioned to leverage social media and has already done so with successful initiatives such as Blog Cabin.

Chatting afterwards, Brown told me that what she’s really concentrating on over the next few months is an extensive rebuild of Scripps’ backend, particularly the CMS, to bring more Web 2.0 functionality to the networks’ numerous sites. “After eight years of the same CMS, it’s time for a change,” she said.

Users won’t see a difference, but will be able to use the sites differently and in deeper, more engaging ways. Methinks this is an issue many media companies are going to have to address — and invest in — to remain competitive, retain audience and attract advertisers.

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