As consumers shift more of their viewership to streaming video, content companies are being forced to adapt accordingly. Discovery Inc., which owns the suite of channels previously owned by Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks Interactive, is no exception.
Compared to media giants like Disney and NBCUniversal, Discovery is a relatively small player. When streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are added to the mix, the landscape gets even more competitive.
"Most of the industry today is on one side: scripted series and scripted movies. It is filled with fantastic companies, Amazon, Netflix, Time Warner, CBS, 21st Century Fox. They are great companies creating great content, but it is a very crowded space,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav said at the company’s upfront presentation to advertisers last week. “There is 20 billion dollars being spent by players that didn’t exist or hardly existed three or four years ago."
So Discovery is trying to adapt and figure out how to embrace streaming video.
For starters, the company is beginning to license its channels to “skinny bundles” like Philo TV. Philo, and competitors like Sling TV and YouTube TV, offering streaming bundles of cable channels at more affordable prices than the traditional cable or satellite bundle.
Discovery has also launched a suite of “go” apps, which make a live feed of the channel, as well as a robust online library of content, available to pay-TV subscribers. The company says it will roll out similar apps for the Scripps family of channels in the coming months.
"They deliver a meaningful millennial audience that we get to sell to you, and the length of view is often two or three times that of traditional TV,” Zaslav said of the Go apps.
there is direct-to-consumer. Disney is betting big on going DTC, and other companies, including Viacom, are pondering the right way to offer a direct offering as well. Discovery is no different.
Zaslav recently teased out the possibility of launching a DTC service, noting that the company owned all of its content, giving it a vast library to build off.
The company is in the process of testing those waters. In Europe, the company offers a streaming sports service from its Eurosport brand. Meanwhile, the company is planning to expand its “Motor Trend” brand to OTT around the world, as well while rebranding its Velocity channel as the Motor Trend Channel.
“We are owners, not renters,” Zaslav said. “If our content shows up on a device, it is us. If it shows up on a mobile player, they bought it from us. In a world where content is traveling to devices globally with more and more buyers looking for content, we have a ton of it.”
Just how far the company pushes that philosophy will be an interesting story to follow.