Discovery Touts Overseas HGTV, Food Network Launches for Driving Revenue Increase

Media giant Discovery Feb. 27 reported fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2019) revenue increased 2% to $2.8 billion, with U.S. advertising and distribution revenue up 1% and 5%, respectively. International advertising and distribution revenue increased 5% and 10%, respectively.

Discovery’s portfolio of premium brands includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and the forthcoming multi-platform joint venture with Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, home of the Olympic Games TV broadcast across Europe.

Follow us on Instagram

Specifically, Discovery attributed revenue gains in part to the globalization of domestic media brands HGTV and Food Network. In 2019, HGTV and Food Network launched in more than 30 new countries and territories combined.

Total share of viewing in 2019 for Discovery’s top 10 international markets increased 2%, on average. The company continued to establish foothold across existing and new direct-to-consumer platforms in Europe, including Dplay in 10 markets, TVN Player in Poland, and Joyn in Germany.

Discovery said it was the most-watched pay-TV portfolio in the U.S. among women 25-54 and 18+ for both primetime and total day in 2019. TLC delivered its best year ever globally, improving both international share and viewership by 8%, and in the U.S., TLC was the fastest growing ad-supported cable network among women 25-54 and 18-49, with its best primetime performance in 16 years.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“2019 was a year of promises made and promises delivered,” CEO David Zaslav said in a statement. “Our differentiated local content strategy and global scale, coupled with our unique free cash flow conversion profile, provide distinct financial flexibility that allows us to adapt to changing media consumption habits.”

 

Discovery CEO: SVOD Market Turning into ‘Street Fight’

On the heels of WarnerMedia putting a name (HBO Max) to its pending subscription streaming video service, Disney launching branded service as well as expanding Hulu globally, Discovery CEO David Zaslav says “chasing the same ball” (i.e. scripted digital content) with the world’s biggest media companies is not the company’s focus.

Speaking July 10 with CNBC from the Allen & Co. confab in Sun Valley, Idaho, Zaslav contends the bustling SVOD market is turning into a “street fight” — a scenario he believes Discovery has successfully side-stepped.

“[About] 50% to 60% of the content that people consume is not scripted series or scripted movies,” Zaslav said. “For us, it’s home [HGTV], food [Food Network], Discovery, Oprah, crime [ID], Chip and Joanna Gains [‘Fixer Upper’]. We own most of the golf [programming] in the world, most of the cycling. We have almost all [non-scripted] quality content. And we own it everywhere in the world.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

With Netflix and Hulu expanding non-scripted programming, including documentaries and food-themed reality TV, Zaslav says Discovery’s market hold on food, home and crime-themed shows is not in threat.

“We’re pretty secure in our space,” he said. “People aren’t buying Netflix to watch a home [improvement] show. We think we have something very differentiated and people come to us for it. They come to us for it on all platforms in all languages.”

Yet, much of HGTV, Food Network, ID and Oprah content is consumed through traditional pay-TV channels — distribution under threat by over-the-top video.

Zaslav agrees the traditional linear TV business is in secular decline. But he said Discovery generated about $3 billion in free cash flow in its most-recent fiscal year.

The executive said Discovery dominates the female non-scripted market in the United States, with OTT video businesses targeting golf (outside the U.S.), cycling and natural history.

“We have a low to mid-single digit growth company, having nothing to do with all of the global IP that we own,” he said. “We think it’s sustainable that we can grow low to mid-single for the next several years.”

Zaslav contends streaming movies and TV shows has become commoditized with Showtime Now, HBO Now, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Apple TV all offering similar content.

“That’s why we did Scripps [Networks] acquisition, because we think people that love food are always going to come to food, people that love home are always going to come to home. So, we think that this is an ecosystem that will work together,” Zaslav said.

With Disney buying Fox, Comcast acquiring Sky and AT&T buying Time Warner, Zaslav dismissed suggestions Discovery would have merge with another major media company to remain competitive.

“We’re the largest independent media company,” he said. “We think some of the assets we have that we’re the largest international media company. We’re in 200 countries.

“But in the long run if we’re wrong, then we have the biggest assortment of IP in affinity groups that people love and we’re in every language around the world. We think that we’re going to win either way. We’ll be more valuable.”

Discovery, ProSiebenSat.1 Launching Online TV Service in Germany

U.S. media giant Discovery and German pay-TV operator ProSiebenSat.1 are launching in June an online TV service in Germany dubbed “Joyn.”

The service — similar to Sling TV, DirecTV Now, etc. in the United States — replaces 7TV and will feature about 50 channels streaming content seven days ahead of pay-TV and available on VOD for 30 days.

With a goal of 10 million subscribers, “Joyn” will feature original content as well as movie services Maxdome and Eurosport Player. It will be accessible on TVs, smartphones, tablets and the Internet.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Netflix currently has about 2.6 million German subs, while Amazon Prime Video has about 3.3 million.

“We are aiming to transform the German video entertainment market,” Alexandar Vassilev, managing director of Joyn, said in a statement.“Our focus is exclusively on the needs of our audiences and we commit to actively listen and reflect their feedback as we make our platform a success.”

For Discovery, the move represents another step integrating internal brands in Europe through over-the-top video distribution.

The parent to HGTV, Food Network and DIY Network, among others, earlier this year bowed Home & Garden TV in Germany, including a series of localized reality TV shows centered around home improvement.

 

 

 

Discovery Launching ‘HGTV’ Brand in Germany

Discovery Communications, beginning June 6, is launching its popular HGTV home improvement network in Germany — the first international bow for the brand since it was acquired in 2018 (along with Food Network and Travel Channel) from Scripps Networks for $12 billion.

The No. 3 pay-TV network in the United States comes to Germany featuring more than 500 hours of programming, including legacy series, “Flip or Flop,” “Fixer Upper,” “House Hunters,” “My Lottery Dream Home” and “Good Bones,” among others.

The network will be offered on linear ad-supported TV, despite the fact Discovery partnered with ProSiebenSat.1 last summer to build a subscription streaming video service featuring live TV, local and Hollywood movies and TV shows, and sports.

“We are incredibly excited to be announcing the launch of HGTV in Germany and start using our scale and expertise across [Europe, Middle East and Africa] to expand HGTV and other key real-life entertainment brands into new territories and reach millions of new people,” Kasia Kieli, president & managing director, Discovery EMEA, said in a statement.

For Susanna Aigner-Drews, SVP & GM Germany/Austria/Switzerland at Discovery, HGTV represents one of the last ad-supported broadcast TV network on German television.

Susanne Aigner-Drews

“In a highly fragmented TV market, there are not many niches to prove,” Aigner-Drews told SZ.de.

While house flipping is rare, home ownership in Germany sits at about 51%, compared to about 65% in the U.S. HGTV in Germany will initially focus on its American/Canadian shows, with German-centric programming to follow.

“TLC [The Learning Channel] has [finally] arrived in Germany after five years,” Aigner-Drews said. “We will have the [necessary] patience with Home & Garden TV.”

Discovery Returns to Profitability Following $15B Scripps Networks Purchase

Discovery Feb. 26 reported fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2018) net income of $265 million following a net loss of $1.1 billion during the previous-year period. Revenue increased 51% to $2.8 billion from $1.85 billion a year earlier.

Spearheading the turnaround was last March’s $15 billion acquisition of Scripps Networks, including coveted brands HGTV, DIY Network, ID, TLC, Animal Planet and Food Network. Discovery also owns stakes in MotorTrend Group and Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

For the fiscal year, net income reached $594 million compared to a $337 million loss in the previous year. Revenue increased 54% to $10.6 billion from $6.9 billion.

Discovery has also invested hundreds of millions in sports programming in Europe, including Olympics rights and an over-the-top video deal for the PGA European Tour.

It also inked exclusive pay-TV and streaming deals with Chip and Joanna Gaines, the husband and wife team behind the hugely successful “Fixer Upper” franchise, and Christina El Moussa, the prettier half of the now-divorced from “Flip or Flop” husband/co-star Tarek El Moussa.

“2018 was a transformational year for Discovery, highlighted by our operational accomplishments, our strong progress in synergy generation and our overall solid financial performance, as we continued powering people’s passions around the world,” CEO David Zaslav said in a statement. “Discovery is a differentiated global content company, and we are optimistic that we will continue to build on all of our operating momentum to drive additional shareholder value into the future.”

 

 

 

Sling TV: Subscribers Most Rented, Watched ‘The Incredibles,’ ‘Jurassic World,’ Among Other 2018 Highlights

Sling TV, Dish Network’s pioneering online TV platform, says its 2.4 million subscribers still love to rent and watch catalog movies.

The service says subs rented Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles the most in 2018, followed by Black Panther, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War and Thor: Ragnarok (Disney).

Most-streamed movies on Sling included catalog titles (in order): Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Jurassic World, Step Brothers(Sony), Deadpool (Fox), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Disney), and The Day After Tomorrow (Fox).

Most-watched TV series included HGTV’s “Fixer Upper,” featuring Chip and Joanna Gaines, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS), “Family Guy” (Fox), “House Hunters” (HGTV) and Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

The rankings are based on viewing trends of subscribers to the $25 monthly Sling Orange and/or Sling Blue options and Extras (transactional VOD) between Jan. 1 and Nov. 27.

Pluto TV Adds Discovery Content

Ad-supported online TV platform Pluto TV has inked a non-exclusive licensing deal with Discovery for channels such as Discovery Channel, HGTV and Food Network, Animal Planet, ID, Discovery Life, Science Channel, and TLC, among others.

“Discovery is a renowned leader with premier programming that inspires and entertains all types of audiences. We are excited to introduce Discovery’s award-winning content to our viewers,” Amy Kuessner, SVP content partnerships, Pluto TV, said in a statement.

Indeed, connected TV video plays increased 145%, while viewing hours increased 103% in the third quarter, according to data from digital measurement firm Conviva.

Online TV platforms such as Sling TV, YouTube TV, DirecTV Now, Spectrum TV Plus, PlayStation Vue, Pluto TV and Fubo TV helped mushroom video plays 292%, including 212% increase in viewing hours from the previous-year period.

For Discovery, the Pluto deal follows similar arrangements signed in September with Dish Networks’ Sling TV and Hulu with Live TV.

“Having our world-class Discovery content as part of Pluto’s offering reinforces Discovery’s commitment to reach all viewers across all screens, platforms and devices,” said Gabriel Sauerhoff, SVP of digital distribution at Discovery.

 

HGTV Flips Script on Home Improvement TV Show

HGTV helped create the booming DIY reality TV market, turning unknown entrepreneur couples, brothers, single moms and mother/daughter teams renovating homes and properties into budding celebrities.

From “Flip or Flop” and “Property Brothers” to “Fixer Upper,” Discovery-owned HGTV caught lightening tapping into consumer fascination with real estate, house flipping and home improvement.

Now, the network will showcase two celebrities, actress Gabrielle Union and husband NBA star Dwyane Wade, renovating a home for charity in “All-Star Flip.”

Union and Wade showcase their “love” of home renovation as they buy, overhaul and flip a fixer-upper in an up-and-coming Miami neighborhood.

The couple join forces with their construction team to gut an outdated ranch house, adding square footage and value to the property with a second-story master suite. They transform the home into a sleek, modern showplace.

Union, who stars in pending drama, Breaking In, says home renovation might be more her passion than Wade’s.

“It took a while, but I finally convinced Dwyane that we should try flipping a house,” said Union, who admits to being real-estate obsessed.

“And we’re doing it to raise money for charity,” said Wade. “So how could I say no?”

The half-hour special premieres April 12, at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV.