Discovery Upfront Pushes Multiplatform Reach For Advertisers


Discovery Networks is making its pitch for upfront dollars this spring year by emphasizing the company’s global reach on a wide range of platforms.

The message from the company — parent of Discovery Channel, TLC, OWN, Science Channel, Animal Planet and others — is that its traditional linear cable networks are only part of what it has available for advertisers.

Even as the company’s presentation stressed its digital “mobile extensions,” it made new programming announcements for its cable networks too.

These included a new version of the old, but well-remembered quiz show “Cash Cab” for Discovery Channel; a new updated “Mythbusters” on Science Channel; and “My Fat Pet,” about overweight dogs and cats, for Animal Planet.

Also coming: “Darkness,” a survival show on Discovery Channel that will have four strangers battling to survive in total darkness for seven days (filmed with infrared cameras); and “Hair Goddess,” a reality show for TLC centered on a Staten Island family in the hair-extension business.

“Here’s what we’re pitching,” said Paul Guyardo, chief commercial officer. “Advertisers can take their 30-second spots they’ve run on any of our linear networks. We now have the capability to make some slight modifications to those spots to make them more appropriate for social, and we can broaden the reach of those spots by distributing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and [Discovery’s own platforms].

“What we’re telling advertisers is this is a terrific way for you to extend your reach now by buying inventory in these made-for-mobile digital extensions,” Guyardo said.

The “extensions” range from Discovery’s own various “Go” apps — one for each of its networks — and platforms owned by Group Nine, the digital media company in which Discovery made a $100 million investment last year (and now owns 40% of it). As a result, Group Nine’s platforms — Thrillist, The Dodo, Seeker and Now This! — are now part of Discovery’s ad sales efforts.

“Group Nine is a huge, big swing for us,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications, corporate parent of Discovery Networks. “We’re really proud of it because it’s about changing the culture of our company. As we look to pivot from a company that was about channels to a company that’s about IP [intellectual property], we have to figure out how to create IP that can be on every single device.

“The underlying philosophy is clear. We’re the only media company that owns all of our IP everywhere in the world on every device,” Zaslav said.

Other new shows coming to Discovery’s networks, announced Tuesday, include: “The Healer” for TLC, a non-scripted show about an Australian man who can heel the sick with the touch of his hands; “Here Me, Love Me, See Me,” a new take on “The Dating Game” for TLC; and “House of Cars,” another car restoration show for Discovery Channel.

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