Discovery must be in play after AT&T’s recent takeover of Time Warner with its Warner Bros, HBO and Turner programming assets.
The newly combined Discovery Scripps venture is valued at more than $34 Bn.
That is a stratospheric achievement for a company that forged its initial connection with viewers via off-the-shelf acquisitions like Australian lizard-specialist Harry Butler.
Discovery is now a global programming force, with deep interests in Sports and General Entertainment.
However, Discovery lacks scale compared with its giant competitors in the age of online video.
The signals coming from Discovery send a “For Sale” message.
- Costs are under the heaviest scrutiny, led by the biggest category – programming.
- According to producers and agents, the green-lighting process is slow and with added levels of approval.
- A “Coach Class Only” rule inhibits execs from investing in the relationships that develop the signature Factual programs that breathe life into the Discovery brand.
- Who is going to squeeze into the back of the plane every few weeks for a long-hauler that’s intended to keep the premium pipeline refreshed?
- These and other strict cost disciplines bolster the cash flow that boosts Discovery’s already-fantastic gross margins and hence valuation.
Who will buy Discovery?
I don’t know.
- Discovery’s suite of channels is distributed worldwide.
- Its programming library and rights, access to talent, brands (and much, much more) — these are all qualities that will attract a buyer and take the company into the revolutionary era of Online Video.
- I won’t forget that Harry Butler is in its DNA.
Sunny Side Case Studies
I’m heading off today to Stockholm and then to La Rochelle for Sunny side of the Doc.
- Read my Case Study on NATIVE AMERICA, a $3-4 million PBS series that will be featured at Sunny Side.
- Providence Pictures’ Gary Glassman discusses his 17-year development history in a very interesting podcast.
Next: The Anti-Case Study
- Coming later this week for Sunny Side: a new “Anti-Case Study” on THE CLEANERS.
- Its an investigative feature doc from Berlin-based Gebrueder Beetz.
- THE CLEANERS beat the odds and won a prized slot at Sundance this year.
- However, the producers are struggling to dig out from a big deficit.
- Listen to the podcast with Christian Beetz.
A Tragic Loss
- Astrid Steinmeyer: Remembering a Wonderful Friend and Colleague by Germaine Deagan Sweet.
- Astrid will be sorely missed at Sunny Side.
My Upcoming Markets & Conferences
SUNNY SIDE OF THE DOC La Rochelle, France. June 25-28 Panel: “The Future of Pubcasters: Adapt or Die”
NEWF: Nature, Environment & Wildlife Filmmakers Congress
Durban, South Africa. July 16-18. Director Noel Kok has organized a great program that combines conservation and wildlife film-making. Make it your reason to come to South Africa. More to come….
- Veteran producer Michael Hoff (Hoff Productions) on trends in developing and pitching programs to U.S. networks.
- StoryCentric guru Ed Hersh on the Obama / Netflix deal.
- Providence Pictures’ Gary Glassman on developing a $3-4 Mn PBS primetime series.
- Next: THE CLEANERS is an anti-Case Study on how a ‘successful’ Sundance finalist can still be stuck in deficit.
Going home after a hard day’s work at Sunny Side