Discovery Pitches Itself As Broadcast Alternative At Upfront

Discovery Inc., the parent company of Discovery, Food Network, HGTV, and TLC channels, is pitching itself to advertisers and media buyers as an alternative — or at the very least — a complement to broadcast TV networks.

The company officially unveiled a new advertising option, called Discovery Premiere.

“All of the ads in Premiere air in ‘A’ positions, in first-run episodes of our top-tier shows, on our biggest networks,” Discovery U.S. ad sales chief Jon Steinlauf told attendees of the company’s upfront Wednesday night. “Premiere can act as a fifth network and serve as a strategic addition to your prime-time network buys.”

“When moving $1M from a $5M prime-time broadcast buy to Discovery Premiere, CPMs were down 10%, reach up 11%, impressions up 13%,” Steinlauf added, using a case study.



At its upfront, held at Lincoln Center, the theme was “Real Life Builds Real Business,” with the company touting its nonfiction fare in genres like food, travel, home, and natural history.

Discovery also touted its scale with women, suggesting the company was able to target that demographic better than its rivals.

“We get between 20% and 25% of the women in America watching our channels any given night,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav said. “That means we can guarantee you — with a spot across all of our channels — we can guarantee you a four, a five, or a six rating any given night, as we aggregate these great brands and have a chance to offer them up to you.”

The company also positioned itself as a unique alternative to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

“TV remains the most powerful medium to tell your brand’s story, but there is a new reality. Consumers now face an avalanche of content, and in our opinion way too much of that content is commercial-free,” Steinlauf said. “The places where you can tell your brand’s story and achieve results are fewer and farther between.” 

“Sports and news come with their own challenges. Sports is expensive. News is polarizing, and can even put your brand at risk,” he added, before noting companies like Netflix, Amazon and HBO are producing terrific entertainment fare.

“They are producing many award-winning scripted shows, but do you know what they all have in common? Your ads are not welcome,” he said.

On the content side, the company leaned into its library, bringing back a number of high-profile shows and personalities from its past. New episodes of “Good Eats” on Food Network, “What Not To Wear” on TLC and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” will be coming to the company’s channels. Chip and Joanna Gaines previewed their own new channel, which will take over DIY Network in 2020.

1 comment about "Discovery Pitches Itself As Broadcast Alternative At Upfront".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, April 11, 2019 at 7:32 p.m.

    When Discovery say "we can guarantee you a four, a five, or a six rating any given night", are they talking GRPs or Reach?   The word "rating' usually applies to an individual piececd of content (programme, ad etc.)   It feels like they are talking about the aggregate number.

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