As more and more American households cut the cable, media giants and telecom companies are finding new ways to adapt to the new television landscape. In the latest major industry shakeup, Discovery Communications, the media conglomerate which owns the Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, and the Science network, has announced they are close to finalizing a massive landmark deal with Scripps Networks Interactive. Scripps is no stranger to cable TV themselves, owning HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, Cooking Channel, and the Travel Channel. The deal will see some of the most popular cable networks coming together under one roof and possibly lead to the creation of a new streaming platform.
The details of the $14.6 billion deal were announced this week in a conference call to Discovery’s investors and analysts. David Zaslav, Discovery’s chairman and CEO, stated in the call that this deal will give Discovery much more flexibility and bargaining power as television networks adapt to the cable cutting revolution:
We think this gives us a huge content engine, and it also lets us pivot that content onto any platform, whether it be ‘skinny bundles,’ direct to consumer, or the 7 billion screens out there in mobile. This gives us much more optionality and much more strength.
Scripps has reportedly been eyeing the launch of their own “skinny bundle” for some time, aiming at a $10-15 price point. In the wake of this soon-to-be-finished deal, a Scripps/Discovery streaming service could potentially draw in a large audience. Scripps owns five cable networks which attract some of the highest proportions of female viewers in the U.S., while Discovery Communications has had a lock on the science television market for decades. Were they to combine forces and launch a streaming service or skinny bundle, Scripps and Discovery could carve out their own corner of the streaming market and be quite a contender.