In the last 30 years, Discovery Communications has grown manifold and at various levels. What started as a one-market, one-genre, one-brand company now reaches 220-plus countries and territories with three billion subscribers; it is now a multi-genre and multi-platform network that operates on multiple business models. Last year, the network completed the acquisition of Eurosport […]
In the last 30 years, Discovery Communications has grown manifold and at various levels. What started as a one-market, one-genre, one-brand company now reaches 220-plus countries and territories with three billion subscribers; it is now a multi-genre and multi-platform network that operates on multiple business models. Last year, the network completed the acquisition of Eurosport and acquired European multi-platform broadcast and distribution rights for the four Olympic Games between 2018 and 2024. Discoverys Olympic Games deal is valued at $1.44 billion across all platforms, including free-to-air and pay TV, online and mobile phone in all languages across 50 countries and most territories in Europe.
Addressing the press at Roland Garros, David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications, revealed how sports was growing in importance for the network. While factual entertainment remains at the heart of Discoverys offerings, the network claims its foray into sports has resulted in more viewer share in more markets.
In recent years, most of the growth for us has been outside the US. Since we took over Eurosport, we have grown the base now in 140m homes, 55 countries in Europe. Our real ambition in sports is already accomplished and we have hired a great sports team to deliver the best content to our viewers.
This is a huge deal for us. As the largest international media player in the world, we make over a billion dollars outside the US, he said.
Zaslav pointed out that Discoverys investment in Eurosport is now up from $150m to $300m.
We are investing more in content. With the Olympics for the next decade, we are committed to spend $5bn in sports content. We want to accelerate our leadership in Europe with a quality product that we own exclusively.
Zaslav likened the Eurosport app to sports Netflix. It has a few hundred thousand subscribers, with the goal of reaching a million. Discovery is the first sports media company in the world to launch a VR sports app, beginning with the French Open.
After Rio, the Olympic rings will appear on Eurosport. We are trying to innovate in sports, not just how we are delivering to different platforms, but the type of content we are carrying, said Zaslav.
Combined with best-in-class and new state-of-the-art production facilities, Discovery is securing some of the worlds most sought-after talent at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Zaslav emphasised that 95% of Discoverys business still involves putting content on channels around the world.
We are cognisant of the quality of that content. Our content has been converted into HD and 4K. We have the largest 4K library of content. We are using our content for mobile, direct to consumer apps. We are doing more in that area with digital offerings such as Discovery GO, Dplay and Eurosport app. Digital business is profitable for us; it has significant margins and we are aggressively moving forward in that direction, he noted.
He further added that Discoverys investment in content has been growing and is set to grow further.
Three years ago, we were investing $1.8bn in content; this year, we have invested well over $2bn. We are looking to spend more money on bigger content, bigger events and bigger audiences.
JB Perrette, President Discovery Networks International, added that Discovery in the last three decades has evolved and adapted to the changes driven by consumer habits.
We are one of the few traditional companies that have a real digital presence, and our direct-to- consumer business is quite robust. Our strategy will be to continue to innovate and disrupt models. Sport fits into our strategy and grows our audience, as well as our share in each of the markets that we operate in. Its no longer about TV audiences but audiences across all platforms, he said.
The networks strategy centres on developing and owning content and tapping into new markets.
Our focus continues to be relentless pursuit of audience share and growth on all platforms. There is no such thing as a pan European fan; sport in every territory is different, we want to differentiate our content to make it more local, more relevant, to resonate with passionate fans across Europe, Perrette added.
Peter Hutton, CEO of Eurosport, commented on the Eurosport legacy that is now transforming into a business transcending platforms and regions, and offering relevant content to viewers.
Being part of a bigger media group means having a long-term vision, and setting ourselves world-class standards. The industry has noticed that Eurosport has changed, viewers have noticed that weve changed, and so have the federations and partners that we work with. They have come to us repeatedly and told us that what weve done is remarkable.
He also added that in sport its about big events and doing justice to big events. Technical innovation and investment enable the company to become a local channel in specific territories and showcase locally relevant content in those markets.