With the global rights to some 30 years of its programming, Discovery is pretty confident about its ability to withstand competition from advertising-free, direct-to-consumer streaming services. But that’s not to say the company has ruled out its own such offerings.

“We do think that we have a couple of really interesting categories that would play really well above and beyond just long-form programming but maybe short-form programming and text and/or other kinds of products,” says SVP of Sales for TV Everywhere Lauri Baker.

“You’ll start to see a lot more kind of direct to consumer different models coming out of Discovery,” Baker adds in this Beet.TV interview at the recent MediaMath All Fronts event in Manhattan.

Discovery launched its branded streaming apps under the Go moniker in 2016 and they now number 17. That opened the door for a company used to traditional linear sales relationships to more advertising opportunities and, in the process, transacting programmatically.

“We found the capacity growing very fast on Go and we knew that we had to tap into demand from all sides,” Baker explains. “So we knew that if we wanted to tap into that we had to be a leader in bringing full-episode content to the digital world and we wanted to do that through very transparent and open relationships programmatically.”

Discovery engages solely in private programmatic marketplaces and eschews open exchanges, according to Baker. It works “very closely with DSP’s like MediaMath” and likes the marketplaces being created.

“We’ve seen a lot of change over the last year in bringing connected TV marketplaces into programmatic, which has been really exciting to us because it does give us the ability to separate our long-form content with the short form content, which is the majority of digital video in general.”

Addressing the direct-to-consumer landscape, Baker acknowledges “that’s where the bulk of the growth is happening from a streaming perspective but that’s not good for advertisers because there are no ads there.”

She believes that companies with deep roots in linear programming, along with its scale, can build streaming apps “that can rival a Netflix or an Amazon because we have the content at our disposal.” Discovery’s 17 apps are tied into one ad-serving platform and one DMP, “so all of the data, all of that scale lives together.”

Baker points to Discovery’s international rights to the PGA and its “incredible relationship” with Tiger Woods. “We have a direct-to-consumer app that we’re launching any day now that really has everything from video content to lessons with Tiger to setting up a tee time, et cetera.”

Subsequent to this interview, Discovery and Magnolia, the home and lifestyle brand led by Chip and Joanna Gaines, announced a media joint venture. The as-yet unnamed multi-platform media company will be composed of a linear television network and TV Everywhere app to be unveiled in Summer 2020. The venture has plans for a subscription streaming service to debut at a later date.

This video was recorded at the MediaMath Connect All Fronts industry conference in Manhattan. The series is sponsored by MediaMath. For more videos please visit this page.

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