Discovery Communications plans to reach car buffs on every platform with the formation of a new consolidated joint venture with TEN: The Enthusiast Network that joins the Discovery-owned Velocity channel and TEN’s portfolio of automotive products.
The deal has been in the making since April 2016, when longtime friends TEN Chairman Peter Englehart and Velocity President Bob Scanlon met to discuss the possibilities of a joint venture using some of TEN’s magazine titles. The shift is a logical one for Velocity, according to Scanlon, following other Discovery business initiatives, such as its recent acquisition of Scripps Networks.
“The company needs to pivot from straight content creation for linear distribution to the ability to serve these superfans and enthusiast audiences that are narrower than general entertainment audiences,” explained Scanlon, who will head up video content for the venture. “And to be able to serve them on any device they choose, anywhere, anytime… That’s the thinking behind it.”
A massive part of this endeavor is placing Velocity content on TEN’s Motor Trend OnDemand OTT service, marking Discovery’s first direct-to-consumer OTT push in the U.S. It’s all a part of Discovery and TEN’s larger strategy to create a destination for automotive superfans across all platforms. Velocity plans to use Motor Trend OnDemand not as another landing place for its content, but as an extension of what appears on the network.
“The plan is to create incremental content that is deeper and more specific, a deeper dive into what our audience craves,” Scanlon said. “This is unique, differentiated content that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Velocity and TEN tout strong male viewership, with men making up 73% of the audience. The hope is that this new venture will open the door to accessing other demographics, including millennials and female viewers. By curating content for mobile devices, Velocity and TEN will be able to attract younger viewers of both genders that are more likely to be using these platforms than cable on their TVs.
Although Scanlon admits there will be bumps in the road as the new venture comes together, he’s confident in its success.
“It’s a challenge anytime you meld two cultures like this,” Scanlon noted. “But we’ve been through it before, and I’m really optimistic about the outcome we’re going to deliver for the company.”