Makeful announces mid-season line-up, adds original online content

With subscription rates flat since its rebrand, the Blue Ant Media channel is now aiming to make an impact online.

Blue Ant Media-owned lifestyle brand Makeful has unveiled its winter programming schedule, adding to its slate of unscripted series aimed at Canada’s DIY crowd.

This year, Makeful is adding more competition-oriented series, such as The Great Interior Design Challenge on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. The U.K. original will make its Canadian premiere Jan. 24 and pit amateur interior designers against one another in home design challenges. Makeful will also be the exclusive Canadian home of Zumbo’s Just Desserts, which premiered Jan. 23 and will sit in the Monday 10 p.m. slot. Zumbo’s is an Australian baking challenge hosted by famed Australian patissier Adriano Zumbo.

Jamie Schouela, EVP of Canadian networks at Blue Ant, told MiC that Makeful ended 2016 with just over two million subscribers, which he said was flat from both year-end 2015 and shortly before the channel was rebranded from Bite TV in the summer of 2015.

However, said Schouela, he considers the flat subscription rate a good thing, especially considering Bite TV’s audience was almost an entirely different demographic than Makeful, which is targeted at women, with a sweet spot in the 25 to 54 range.

“Bite TV was distinctly male, comedy lovers age 18 to 34,” said Schouela. “Our cable partners changed how they packaged us.”

He said the channel’s most well-consumed shows tend to be programming from abroad that it has scored exclusive deals for. The most popular shows of 2016 included Landscape Artist of the Year, which boasted an average AMA of 9.8 for adults 25 to 54 and 15.7 for viewers 2+ in 2016.

With the CRTC-mandated pick-and-pay option rolled out in December, some in the industry thought it would hurt small channels such as Makeful. However, Schouela said Makeful’s size may have given it a bit of an advantage, as it has not seen any real effect from pick-and-pay.

“We don’t have the penetration of the more significant channels that are in seven to eight million homes,” he said. “So in general for that reason we haven’t seen as much of an effect.”

He said the majority of the channel’s new subscribers since the rebrand from Bite have come from lifestyle packages.

However, the implementation of pick-and-pay has also lined up with the brand’s launch of its new website, Be Makeful, which is functioning as a multi-channel network for original digital content.

“Our plan is to launch seven original series, all distributed by social,” he said. Series already underway include the decor-focused Obsessed and its Makeful Eats series, which focuses on classic recipes such as pies and cakes.

With a Canadian crafting community Schouela estimates is at least five million strong, he said online content is an ideal add-on for advertisers. “We can offer them a chance to connect through influencer platforms.” Be Makeful posts original content on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Schouela said the company was unable to provide views for the online content. Makeful boasts 22,000 likes on Facebook and 51,000 subscribers on YouTube.

Makeful launched a free preview for the channel Jan. 23 which will be available until mid-March.

Other series in the channel’s mid-season line-up include:

  • Landscape Artist of the Year, season two, premiering Jan. 25, airing Wednesdays at 10 p.m.;
  • Australia’s Cheapest Wedding, premiering Jan. 26, airing Thursdays at 9 p.m.;
  • The Great British Sewing Bee, premiered Jan. 22, airing Sundays at 9 p.m.;
  • The Great Pottery Throwdown, premiered Jan. 22, airing Sundays at 10 p.m.