Discovery, Inc.

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Discovery, Inc.
Formerly called
Discovery Communications (1994–2018)
Public
Traded as NASDAQDISCA (Class A)
NASDAQDISCB (Class B)
NASDAQDISCK (Class C)
S&P 500 Components (DISCA and DISCK)
ISIN US25470F1049
US25470F3029
Industry Mass media
Predecessor Discovery Holding Company
Founded
  • 1985; 33 years ago (1985) as The Discovery Channel
  • 1994; 24 years ago (1994) as Discovery Communications
Founder John S. Hendricks
Headquarters Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Revenue Increase US$6.497 billion (2016)[1]
  • Increase US$2.4 billion (2016)[1]
  • Increase US$1.19 billion (2016)[1]
Number of employees
7,000 (2017)
Divisions
Subsidiaries
Website corporate.discovery.com

Discovery, Inc. (formerly Discovery Communications) is an American mass media company based in Silver Spring, Maryland, first established in 1985.

The company primarily operates factual television networks, such as its namesake Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science, TLC, and other spin-off brands. In March 2018, the company completed its acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive, which added networks such as Food Network, HGTV, and Travel Channel to its portfolio. The combined company operates five of the ten most-watched U.S. cable channels among women.[2]

Discovery, Inc. also owns or has interests in local versions of its channel brands in international markets, in addition to its other major regional operations such as Eurosport (a pan-European group of sports channels), Discovery Communications Nordic (which operates general-interest channels in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland), TVN Group in Poland, UKTV, a British channel group co-owned with BBC Studios, and a portfolio of various free-to-air channels in Italy such as DMAX and Real Time.

History

Logo as Discovery Communications until acquisition of Scripps Networks in 2018. The logo has refined and dropped "Communications" after the transaction.

The company's namesake and flagship brand, Discovery Channel, first launched on June 17, 1985.[3][4] In 1991, Discovery Channel's owners acquired The Learning Channel.[5]

In October 1996, Discovery launched several new spin-off networks, including Animal Planet, and the digital cable channels Discovery Kids, Discovery Travel & Living, Discovery Civilization, and Science Channel. This was followed by the 1997 purchase of a 70% stake in Travel Channel, and the 1998 launches of Discovery en Español, Discovery Wings, and Discovery Health Channel.[6][7][8] Also in 1998, Discovery acquired a stake in the struggling CBS Eye on People channel; Discovery eventually acquired the remainder of CBS's stake, leading to its January 1999 re-launch as Discovery People.[9][10] The network quietly folded in 2000, being replaced by other Discovery channels on providers.[11]

On September 1, 2001, Discovery Communications bought The Health Channel, and announced that it would be re-branded as FitTV.[12] In 2002, Discovery re-launched Discovery Civilization as Discovery Times, as part of a joint venture with The New York Times.[13] In June 2002, coinciding with Discovery's 17th anniversary, the company launched a 24/7 high definition channel known as Discovery HD Theater.[14] In March 2007, Discovery sold its stake in Travel Channel back to Cox Communications, in exchange for the stake in Discovery that Cox owned.[15] Cox would later sell the controlling interest in the channel to Scripps Networks Interactive in 2009.[16] In June 2008, Discovery Home was replaced by Planet Green, a network devoted primarily to environmentalism and ecological living.[17]

On January 15, 2008, Discovery announced that it had entered into a joint venture with Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions to re-launch Discovery Health as a new service, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, in 2009.[18] In 2008, Discovery Times was re-launched as Investigation Discovery, a new brand that would be dedicated to true crime programs and documentaries.[19] On April 30, 2009, Discovery announced a joint venture with Hasbro to re-launch Discovery Kids as a new youth- and family-oriented entertainment channel.[20][21] The channel, ultimately named The Hub, launched on October 10, 2010.[22][23] After multiple delays, OWN officially launched on January 1, 2011.[24][25]

On March 17, 2009, Discovery Communications sued Amazon.com for patent infringement by its Kindle e-reader line, regarding "secure distribution of electronic text and graphics to subscribers and secure storage". The patents were originally developed by Discovery founder John Hendricks, who had been developing technologies related to e-books and the digitization of television programs. While Discovery had divested the television-related patents, it retained the e-book patents.[26] Amazon subsequently accused Discovery of violating a patent for an "Internet-based customer referral system";[27] The two parties settled in 2011.[28]

On October 4, 2011, due to the wider implementation of high-definition feeds for mainstream cable channels, HD Theater was re-launched as Velocity, a new "upscale male" network focusing on automotive programming.[29][30][31] On May 28, 2012, Planet Green (which had begun to abandon its original concept in 2010 due to poor viewership)[17] was re-launched as Destination America.[32]

In January 2014, Discovery launched Curiosity, a website that aggregates online education content.[33]

In May 2014, Discovery and its shareholder Liberty Media acquired British television studio All3Media for $930 million in a 50/50 joint venture. The new ownership stated that All3Media would be operated as an independent company.[34] In October 2014, Discovery acquired controlling interest in Hub Network from Hasbro and re-branded it as Discovery Family.[35][36] In November 2014, Curiosity was spun out as a venture-funded startup, receiving $6 million in funding.[37]

In December 2015, Discovery launched Discovery Go, a TV Everywhere service offering access to live streaming and on-demand content from Discovery Communications' cable networks.[38]

In May 2016, Discovery initiated a restructuring plan aiming to save $40 to $60 million by the third quarter of 2016, including a shift in strategy to "maximize" its linear television business whilst plotting larger investments in content, digital media, sports, and international markets.[39] In August 2016, Discovery purchased a minority stake in the Hong Kong-based digital talent and content company VS Media; Discovery intended to have VS distribute Discovery Digital Networks content in China, and to offer their own resources to VS.[40][41][42]

In October 2016, Discovery purchased a minority stake in Group Nine Media, a digital media holding company consisting of Thrillist Media Group, NowThis, The Dodo and Discovery’s digital network Seeker—for $100 million. The transaction gave Discovery an option to acquire a majority stake at a later date.[43][44]

On August 3, 2017, Discovery announced that it would contribute Velocity into a joint venture with the digital, live events, and direct-to-consumer businesses of automotive publisher TEN: The Enthusiast Network. Discovery will hold a majority stake in the venture; it will not include TEN's print brands, but there will be opportunities for cross-promotion.[45] In December 2017, Discovery announced that it would acquire an additional 24.5% stake in OWN that it did not already own, for $70 million. Oprah Winfrey will remain as CEO of OWN, and extended her exclusivity agreement with the network and Discovery through 2025. Harpo Productions retains a "significant minority stake" in the venture.[46]

Acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive

On July 31, 2017, Discovery announced it would acquire Scripps Networks Interactive, owner of networks such as Food Network and HGTV, for $14.6 billion, pending regulatory approval.[47]

On March 1, 2018, it was announced that Scripps Networks' chief programmer Kathleen Finch would be named Discovery Communications' Chief Lifestyle Brands Officer; she will continue to oversee the six former Scripps channels, in addition to Discovery's lifestyle networks such as TLC. It was also announced that Rich Ross, who formerly served as group president of Discovery and Science, had stepped down, and would be replaced by TLC president Nancy Daniels as Chief Brand Officer, Discovery & Factual.[48]

On March 6, 2018, the acquisition was completed; at the same time, the company was renamed Discovery Inc. SNI shareholders own 20% of Discovery's stock.[2] Discovery will retain an operational hub in SNI's home city of Knoxville, but plans to move its corporate headquarters from Silver Spring, Maryland, where it has operated since 2003, to New York City in late-2019.[49]

Corporate governance

Former NBCUniversal executive David Zaslav was named president and CEO on November 16, 2006.[50]

In addition to Zaslav, current executives include:[51]

  • Adria Alpert Romm, Chief Human Resources & Global Diversity Officer[52]
  • Bruce Campbell, Chief Development, Distribution & Legal Officer [53]
  • John Honeycutt, Chief Technology Officer[54]
  • David Leavy, Chief Corporate Operations and Communications Officer[55]
  • Jean-Briac (JB) Perrette, President and CEO, Discovery Networks International[56]
  • Gunnar Wiedenfels, Chief Financial Officer [57]
  • Savalle Sims, General Counsel
  • Jon Steinlauf, Chief US Advertising Sales Officer
  • Eric Phillips, President Affiliate Distribution
  • Leigh Anne Brodsky, EVP Discovery Global Enterprises[58]

Prior to September 18, 2008, DCI's ownership consisted of three shareholders:

On September 17, 2008, Discovery Holding Company completed a restructuring plan. Discovery Holding's Ascent Media business was spun off, and the remaining businesses, Discovery Communications, LLC and Advance/Newhouse Communications, were combined into a new holding company, Discovery Communications, Inc.[59] The new fully public company and trades on the NASDAQ stock market under the symbols DISCA, DISCB, and DISCK. SEC filings are submitted by the Discovery Holding Company.[60]

In May 2014, the company announced a special dividend of shares of the Company's Series C common stock payable to holders of record of the Company's Series A common stock, Series B common stock and Series C common stock as of the close of business on July 28, 2014. As a result of the dividend, each holder of a share of the Company's Series A common stock, Series B common stock or Series C common stock will receive one additional share of the Company's Series C common stock on or about August 6, 2014.[61]

Liberty Global and Discovery Communications paid approximately $195 million for a 3.4% stake in Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation in November 2015. Discovery CEO David Zaslav joined the Lion's Gate board of directors as part of the acquisition.[62][63][64]

Divisions

DCI operates its businesses in the following groups: Discovery Networks U.S., Discovery Networks International, Discovery Studios Group, Discovery Digital Media, and Discovery Education.[65]

U.S. channels

There are 19 channels owned and operated by Discovery Networks U.S.

Channel Launch Date US Households as of Jan. 2016[66] Notes
Discovery Channel 1985 95 million Flagship network
Food Network 1993 95 million Acquired in Scripps merger in March 2018. Joint venture ownership with Tribune Media
HGTV 1994 94 million Acquired in Scripps merger in March 2018.
TLC 1972 93 million Acquired by Discovery Communications in May 1991, previously known as The Learning Channel.
Animal Planet 1996 92 million
Travel Channel 1987 89 million Re-acquired in Scripps merger in March 2018.
Investigation Discovery 1996 85 million Formerly Discovery Times, Discovery Civilization
Oprah Winfrey Network 2011 79 million Joint venture ownership with Harpo Productions, which holds a minority stake after Discovery acquired a controlling stake from Oprah Winfrey
Science 1996 72 million Formerly Discovery Science; Science Channel
Discovery Family 1996 67 million Initially launched as Discovery Kids in 1996, relaunched as The Hub in 2010, renamed Hub Network on 2013 and rebranded as Discovery Family in 2014.[67]
40% of the network is owned by Hasbro.
Velocity 2002 66 million Formerly Discovery HD Theater and HD Theater
Cooking Channel 2010 65 million Formerly Fine Living. Acquired in Scripps merger in March 2018.
DIY Network 1999 61 million Acquired in Scripps merger in March 2018.
Great American Country 1995 58 million Acquired in Scripps merger in March 2018.
American Heroes Channel 1998 58 million Formerly Discovery Wings, Military Channel
Destination America 1996 56 million Formerly Discovery Home and Leisure (1998–2004), Discovery Home (2004–08), and Planet Green (2008–12)
Discovery Life 2011 47 million Merger of Discovery Health Channel and FitTV, previously known as Discovery Fit & Health
Discovery en Español 1998 6 million Spanish-language version of the Discovery Channel
Discovery Familia 2007 6 million

Discovery Networks International

Discovery Networks International has five regional operations spanning Asia-Pacific, Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA), Latin America/U.S. Hispanic, Northern Europe, and Southern Europe, with regional headquarters in Singapore, Warsaw, Miami, London, Mumbai and Milan.[68]

On November 27, 2012, Discovery announced it would acquire Dubai-based broadcaster Takhayal Entertainment, which owns MENA lifestyle channel Fatafeat. This acquisition was completed.[69]

On December 21, 2012, Discovery announced it had acquired a 20% stake in the pan-European sports broadcaster Eurosport from TF1 Group for €170 million (US$221.6 million).[70] On January 21, 2014, Discovery acquired an additional 51% share to gain controlling interest,[71] and subsequently acquired the remainder for €491 million in July 2015 to receive sole ownership.[72]

In June 2015, Discovery acquired pan-European rights to the Olympic Games from 2018 through 2024, excluding Russia, on all platforms, in a €1.3 billion deal. Discovery will primarily broadcast the Games on local outlets (including Eurosport), but will sub-license coverage to over-the-air broadcasters in each region.[73][74][75]

In June 2016, Discovery acquired a 27.5% stake in Bethia Comunicaciones S.A., a division of Chilean conglomerate Bethia that owns Red Televisiva Megavisión S.A., a company which in turn owns both the private television network Mega and a 70% stake in the anime-, Korean drama- and K-pop-focused cable television channel ETC (which is co-owned with its creator, who is businessman and television executive Hernán Schmidt Fuentes). As a result, Bethia now owns 72.5% of the company.[76]

In August 2016, Discovery renewed its distribution deals in 12 countries with shareholder Liberty Global.[77][78] On January 31, 2017, after nearly facing a carriage dispute, Discovery renewed its distribution deals in Germany and the United Kingdom with Sky plc.[79]

In November 2016, Discovery partnered with the streaming media company BAMTech to create a joint venture to serve Europe.[80] In May 2017, ProSiebenSat.1 Media and Discovery announced a joint venture to create a German over-the-top content service, built upon its existing 7TV service.[81]

In August 2017, Discovery announced that it would acquire the remaining 51.06% of Green Content, the operator of the Polish DTT channel Metro, from Agora SA for PLN19,000,000 under a share buyback agreement.[82]

Through its purchase of SNI, Discovery added the Polish broadcaster TVN Group to its European portfolio,[2] which SNI had acquired in 2015.[83][84][85], as well as the UKTV joint venture with BBC Worldwide (later BBC Studios).

Channel Launch Date Notes
Discovery Channel 1982
Animal Planet 1997
TLC
Investigation Discovery
Eurosport 1 Acquired in 2014 Launched in India as DSport
Discovery Jeet 12 February 2018 Indian general entertainment channel
Discovery Kids 1996
DMAX 2006 Launch: 2006 Germany, 2008 UK & Ireland, 2011 Italy, 2014 Asia
Discovery Science 1997
Discovery Turbo/Discovery Turbo Xtra 2005
Quest
Eurosport 2
Discovery Home & Health 2000
Discovery World 1998
Fine Living Acquired in 2018
Food Network Acquired in 2018
Travel Channel Acquired in 2018

Discovery also operates Living Channel and Food TV in New Zealand.[86]

2010 hostage crisis

On September 1, 2010, the Discovery headquarters were the site of a hostage taking; a lone gunman identified as James J. Lee, armed with two starter pistols[87] and an explosive device, took three people hostage inside of the Discovery Communications headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, prompting an evacuation of the building. Lee's motive was believed to have been grounded in environmental activism. Lee had previously been arrested in 2008 while protesting in front of the same site. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland has since labeled the crime a terrorist attack.[88]

The incident began at 1:00 p.m. ET, when 43-year-old James Jay Lee entered the building with two starter pistols and fired a single round at the ceiling of the lobby.[89][90] The Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) confirmed that Lee had an explosive device and was holding three people[91] hostage in the lobby.[89][92] The building was placed on lockdown and most of the 1,500 employees were evacuated.[92] Children from a day care center inside were safely removed to a nearby McDonald's restaurant on Colesville Rd.[89] Lee was shot dead by an MCPD SWAT team at 4:48 p.m. ET after the hostages made a run to escape.[93] The remaining hostages were immediately freed.[94] The incident was described by the FBI as the first instance of a would-be suicide bomber taking hostages in the United States.[95]

James Jay Lee (c. 1967 – September 1, 2010) was an environmental protester who, in 2008, was given six months of supervised probation and fined $500 after he was arrested during a protest outside the Discovery Communications headquarters. Lee had published criticisms of the network in an online manifesto at Savetheplanetprotest.com,[90] among which was a demand for the company to cease the broadcasting of television series displaying or encouraging the birth of "parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions".[96] His manifesto also railed against "immigration pollution and anchor baby filth", leading commentators such as Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center to decry Lee as an "eco-fascist".[97] Lee's opinions were dominated by Malthusian analysis,[98] though he also cited works ranging from Daniel Quinn's novel My Ishmael to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth.[99] The Washington Post credited the Twitter community for initially breaking the story.[100]

See also

References

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  4. ^ "Television: The Russians Are Coming". Time. February 23, 1987. 
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  6. ^ Parsons, Patrick (2008). Blue Skies: A History of Cable Television. Temple University Press. Philadelphia. ISBN 1592137067. 
  7. ^ Kirchdoerffer, Ed (April 1, 1999). "Digital Play in the U.S. of A". Realscreen. Retrieved September 23, 2014. 
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  9. ^ Carter, Bill (July 28, 1998). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Discovery to Buy 50% Stake In CBS Eye On People Channel". The New York Times. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  10. ^ "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; CBS Is Selling Stake in Venture". The New York Times. December 31, 1998. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
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  44. ^ Spangler, Todd (October 13, 2016). "Discovery Investing $100 Million to Merge Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo in New Digital Venture". Variety. Retrieved November 28, 2016. 
  45. ^ Evans, Greg (August 3, 2017). "Discovery Communications Partners With TEN Network For Auto Portfolio". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 18, 2017. 
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  56. ^ "Jean-Briac (JB) Perrette". Jean-Briac (JB) Perrette
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  89. ^ a b c "Armed Man With Bomb Takes at Least One Hostage in Discovery Channel Building". Fox. September 1, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  90. ^ a b "Suspect in Maryland hostage situation published angry online manifesto". CNN. September 1, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  91. ^ Morse, Dan (September 3, 2010). "James J. Lee's hostage standoff at Discovery was grueling time for officials". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  92. ^ a b Robbins, Liz; Stelter, Brian (September 1, 2010). "Gunman Takes Hostage in Maryland". The New York Times. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  93. ^ Morse, Dan (September 1, 2010). "Environmental militant slain at Silver Spring building after taking hostages". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  94. ^ "Hostages Safe as Police Shoot Maryland Gunman". The New York Times. September 1, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2010. [dead link]
  95. ^ "New Strategies for Countering Homegrown Violent Extremism: Preventive Community Policing" (PDF). November 13, 2013. p. 2. Retrieved June 30, 2016. 
  96. ^ Theresa Vargas (September 1, 2010). "James J. Lee is suspect in Discovery hostage case, officials say". The Washington Post. 
  97. ^ Mark Potok (September 1, 2010). "Apparent Eco-Terrorist Holding Hostages at TV Building". Hatewatch (blog), Southern Poverty Law Center. 
  98. ^ Leonard, Andrew (September 1, 2010). "How Malthus drove the Discovery Channel gunman crazy". Salon. p. 1. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  99. ^ "Police kill Discovery building gunman". MSNBC. January 9, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2010. 
  100. ^ Paul Farhi (September 1, 2010). "Twitter breaks story on Discovery Channel gunman". The Washington Post. 

External links

  • Official website
    • Business data for Discovery Communications: Google Finance
    • Yahoo! Finance
    • Reuters
    • SEC filings
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