- In pursuit of multiplatform ecosystems, Discovery, Inc., parent company of Discovery, HGTV, Food Network, Animal Planet and Own, is evolving its technology stack, according to President and CEO David Zaslav, during the company's Q2 2019 earnings call.
- Peter Faricy, CEO of global direct-to-consumer, is overseeing the evolution. Discovery, Inc. created the role last year for Faricy, former VP of Amazon Marketplace, to lead the company's digital portfolio. His role expands on 20 years of experience where technology and media meet.
- Faricy and his team are developing a technology platform for the company's global direct-to-consumer and streaming businesses. Discovery, Inc.'s existing digital products are operated on more than a dozen platforms and "depend upon a dozen third-party platforms," said CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels, during the call.
Discovery, Inc. is banking on a number of digital investments this year. The company already boasts a healthy list of "safe" brands to maintain audience loyalty, said Zaslav.
The media company services more than 1 million streams on Discovery alone with a high rate of engagement time.
The focus now is meeting the audience where it's convenient for them. "There has been a shift in consumer behavior" because of technology and content distribution models, where customers expect to view content on a time-delay or on-demand, according to the company's 2018 annual report.
Continued investments in technology and digital initiatives are taking a financial toll on the company. The adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization loss increased 16% due, in part, to technology costs.
While Discovery, Inc. "enjoyed another quarter of total company margin improvement," the company expects the weight of its continued digital investments to increase for the rest of 2019, according to Wiedenfels.
Though the financial burden of technology and digital investments are unavoidable, Faricy is making progress with the global technology platform.
Dplay, a popular app in the Nordics, migrated to the new platform and yielded favorable results: an almost 150% year-over-year increase in subscribers, according to Wiedenfels. Further migrations to the platform are expected to boost the company's functionality and speed to market.