05/12/20: Special Report: Discovery



Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Tuesday May 12, 2020

Special Report: Discovery
Cathy Applefeld Olson

A-list celebrities surprising loved ones with heartwarming home renovations. Pantry-themed cooking segments from trusted chefs’ home kitchens. Talent leading the charge to support restaurant workers financially impacted by the pandemic.

Since the onset of COVID-19, Discovery’s networks have been soaring by significant margins. While it’s tempting to layer on elaborate analysis, Discovery’s proposition to viewers—and advertisers—is actually rather uncomplicated: The company long ago cemented its status as a premier destination for categories including food, home improvement, cars, crime, adventure and natural history, and it continues to expand and elevate its domain.

At a time when consumers are turning to television to seek comfort, solutions and inspiration, Discovery’s brands are there like a trusted friend, with many of its most-watched shows unwittingly primed for quarantine consumption.

“Discovery’s real life content has never been more comforting or inspirational,” Jon Steinlauf, chief US advertising sales officer, tells Cynopsis. “And we’ve taken our moniker as the leader in real life entertainment to another level.”

For brands, connecting with viewers and generating impressions in an authentic, engaged environment is more important now than ever. Discovery offers advertisers and partners the dual benefit of simultaneously scaling up national reach via its 18 television networks, and drilling down with precision via its advanced advertising products, as well as its direct-to-consumer and streaming offerings, social and digital platforms.

“We continue to see clients and agencies placing a heavier emphasis on an audience-first approach, driven by advanced audience targeting capabilities,” Steinlauf says. “In these turbulent times, it is increasingly important to understand changes in consumer attitudes toward brands as well as impacted behaviors. To this end, Discovery Engage has created adaptive attribution solutions to measure the efficacy of client investments.”

A Cynopsis Message From DISCOVERY
Sunday 5/3 Discovery Had a 33 Share of
Cable Viewing in Prime on W25-54

The night was led by TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days and
90 Day Fiancé: Pillow Talk, Food Network’s Buddy vs Duff, Discovery’s Naked & Afraid and HGTV’s House in a Hurry

Check out our resource to help you stay #HomeTogether
Discovery Channel. HGTV. Food Network. TLC. ID. OWN. Animal Planet. Travel Channel. Science. DIY Network. Cooking Channel. MotorTrend.

Familiar Faces + New Directions = Ratings Success
Passion programming, engaging talent and a trusted viewing environment are at the core of the Discovery library, which now reaches more than 198 million consumers monthly across linear and digital platforms.

When Coronavirus hit, the company was coming off a strong first quarter. Now, with viewers especially hungry for comfort and consistency, Discovery is super-serving just that. Its portfolio wrapped April as No.1 among pay TV networks in L+3 viewership, growing 3 percent in primetime among A25-54 and 5 percent among A25-54 in total day. Eleven of Discovery’s networks grew viewership double digits in primetime in A25-54 compared with April 2019, including DIY (up 49 percent), TLC (45 percent), Cooking Channel (26 percent) and MotorTrend TV (17 percent).

Originals such as Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush duo, TLC’s 90 Day Fiance and Sister Wives, HGTV’s Home Town and My Lottery Dream Home, and Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship continue to propel viewership across dayparts—26 percent of Discovery viewers are tuning in during the daytime compared with 21 percent a year ago—and new hits such as HGTV’s Celebrity IOU, just renewed for a second season after drawing more than 18.9 million viewers since its April 13 premiere, are expanding audiences.

Consistency To Weather the Storm
Aside from its robust schedule of current programming, Discovery has a full pipeline of upcoming shows that will enable the company to stay its course despite uncertainties in the media market.

Among advantages, many of its series are produced in bulk. Food Network has enough Chopped episodes and TLC has enough 90 Day Fiance eps in stock to take the networks well into 2021. Then there’s the longtime occurrence of many Discovery nets running marathons— Shark Week in a Weekend on Discovery, and ID at the Movies on five consecutive Saturday nights and Nine at Nine featuring nine nights of specials, to name a few—a practice that’s primed for viewers logging more screen time.

Immediately and in the near future, Discovery networks are tee’ing up isolation-friendly productions in the form of series and specials created via skype-casting and self-filming and other distance measures.

Our programming teams are working to create quality, relevant programming that our partners and clients are excited to be a part of,” said Steinlauf. “For example, HGTV’s new series Design at Your Door, which seeks out homeowners who need help renovating their homes during quarantine, features Walmart as the exclusive integrated partner.”

A Cynopsis Message From DISCOVERY

Only First Run Episodes of Hit Shows on Our Top Networks
20 Programs delivering over 2 Million Viewers week of 4/27
90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days (5.3M), Celebrity IOU (4.1M),
90 Day Fiancé: Pillow Talk (3.6M),
Gold Rush: Parkers Trail (3.2M) and Little People, Big World (3.0M)

Check out our resource to help you stay #HomeTogether
Discovery Channel. HGTV. Food Network. TLC. ID. OWN. Animal Planet. Travel Channel. Science. DIY Network. Cooking Channel. MotorTrend.

Discovery Channel launched a new, virtual late-night talk show with Josh Gates, Expedition Unknown: Josh Gates Tonight. Amy Schumer and her chef husband are hitting the cooktop in self-shot series Amy Schumer Learns to Cook on Food Network, and quarantine editions of The Kitchen, Pioneer Woman, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives Tournament of Champions and more abound. Additional new series also include MotorTrend: Working from Home, which invites viewers into the homes of the network’s talent, and TRVL’s Ghost Adventures Quarantine, a four part series featuring Zak Bagans and his “Ghost Adventures” crew quarantined inside his Haunted Museum in Las Vegas.

“Our talent have ‘self-shot’ 350 hours of new content while hunkered down at home. They are providing useful ideas to families with some extra time on their hands for home and food projects and for other special interests,” Steinlauf says. “Stars like Guy Fieri, Josh Gates, Joanna Gaines, Mike Rowe, Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman, the Property Brothers and Amy Schumer, as well as hit series like 90 Day Fiance and The Kitchen, are in production at home right now.”

Synergies among family networks are running stronger than ever. While Magnolia Network, Discovery’s joint venture with Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, delayed its October 4 launch due to production shutdowns caused by the pandemic, DIY in late April offered a sampler of 10 Magnolia series via four-hour preview Magnolia Presents: A Look Back & A Look Ahead, which drove the network to its highest-rated day in network history among P25-54.

On the digital front, Discovery is bolstering both content and ways viewers can access it. The company’s investment in Group 9 extends its reach in the millennial demographic with signatures including The Dodo, Pop Sugar, Seeker, Thrillist and Now This Is News. Discovery’s portfolio of 18 streaming TV-everywhere GO apps provides extension and additional access to its brands, with a library of more than 60,000 episodes that garners 66 million monthly streams and growing.

A newly expanded partnership with Amazon provides tens of millions of Amazon Fire TV and Fire Tablet customers in the US with a one-year subscription to Food Network Kitchen, which just programmed a “We Cook Together Weekend,” featuring 10 new live cooking classes hosted from the home kitchens of Valerie Bertinelli, Bobby Flay, Tyler Florence and more. Customers will be able to immediately download the app and enjoy the most complete food and cooking experience available. Food Network Kitchen offers thousands of cooking classes; home delivery for ingredients used in all classes, recipes, videos and shows; hundreds of step-by-step instructional videos; advanced search functionality to make finding recipes and classes easier; and a curated selection of Food Network shows.

A Cynopsis Message From DISCOVERY

1st party audience database with 100+ segments across Food, Home, Travel and Auto
Broad library of attribution case studies across 9 verticals and multiple conversion metrics
Full funnel ROI using the largest STB footprint for TV measurement with 40M Set top boxes

Check out our resource to help you stay #HomeTogether
Discovery Channel. HGTV. Food Network. TLC. ID. OWN. Animal Planet. Travel Channel. Science. DIY Network. Cooking Channel. MotorTrend.

Upfront and Out in Front
While no one could’ve predicted an Upfront season like this one, Discovery entered the COVID crisis with a strong hand that’s only risen with its ratings. Its message to advertisers: With consumers spending more time at home, at a time when the home is also an office and a classroom, Discovery is here to collaborate on messaging to its highly engaged audience of purchase decision-makers.

And because the company doesn’t license content, its 60,000 episodes comprise a library tailor-made for direct-to-consumer offerings. The company’s Discovery Premiere offering packages hit shows together and offers placement in A positions during premiere episodes to deliver reach on par with broadcast, offsetting the supply crunch for effective impressions with the power of its collective portfolio.

“Our fans are enjoying getting a more personal view of our stars who are relaxed and creative while in their own homes. Ad messages are woven so tightly that they rise to the level of content, and serve a higher purpose,” Steinlauf says. “Trusted brands and talent like ours enhance the way viewers engage with the ads on our platforms.”

Brands in categories including home and cleaning products, food, paint, home improvement, lawn and garden, personal care, pharma and insurance are pivoting messaging in ways that ring particularly authentic when housed within the Discovery family. New verticals including tech/telco companies, e-commerce and delivery services have come onboard to advertise with the company since the disruption began.

The way ads are served to consumers is evolving with the rise of addressable TV and end-to-end, screen-to-screen measurement and full-funnel attribution. “Discovery continues to bring forth innovative advertising solutions and anticipates launching 1:1 addressable capabilities across its linear national inventory,” Steinlauf notes. “We are working with every major enablement partner on linear addressable advertising to ensure we bring scale to market at launch.”

During the past few years, Discovery Engage, the company’s advanced advertising platform, has focused on providing measurement and attribution capabilities tailored to client’s key KPIs. “We have built an extensive library of attribution case studies for more than nine verticals across multiple conversion metrics. More recently, Discovery has brought a full-funnel attribution solution to the marketplace. We have the ability to analyze the top of funnel brand awareness, as well lower funnel metrics and measure the interplay between them. This is where we see the power of TV aligning and balancing the value of branding with business-specific outcomes for marketers,” Steinlauf notes.

“Yes the ground is shifting under our feet. There’s fragmentation, complexity and scarcity in the market,” he adds. “But, everything we’ve done has led to this exact moment. Our passion brands, inspiring shows, trusted talent, and rich streaming product all motivate buying decisions. And our advanced targeting ensures you will be seen and heard by the right person at the right time.”

Cynopsis Team

Lynn Leahey
Editorial Director
Kerry Smith
Division President
Access Intelligence

Roberta Caploe

Cynopsis Ad Sales
Mike Farina

Albert Nassour

Cynopsis Job Listings Sales
Trish Pihonak
Director of Operations


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