Discovery Communications has unveiled the first installment of its multipronged direct-to-consumer strategy, partnering with motorsports publisher TEN: The Enthusiast Network, home of Motor Trend magazine, with auto-focused Velocity in a deal that will bring exclusive on-demand content to subscribers.
Discovery first talked about the strategy last November, shortly after the launch of its Discovery Go app. Along with that authenticated online version of its linear content (which is also tied to an existing multichannel video programming distributor subscription), Discovery also hatched the direct-to-consumer plan. Velocity is the first network to try the model.
Discovery is essentially forming a new venture with TEN — TEN: A Discovery Communications Company — led by Discovery chief content officer Paul Guyardo. Velocity executive vice president and general manager Bob Scanlon will become president of Velocity and TEN video content after the deal closes later this year.
“The overall strategy is to raise the awareness of some of the content that TEN is currently creating on different platforms,” Scanlon said in an interview. “On the Velocity side, the intent is to leverage our talent — the face of Velocity — [and their] popularity, that trust and expertise to create what I call content from the cutting-room floor.” Scanlon added that content would be more process-oriented, offering deeper dives into aspects of certain shows on-demand for a price. For example, on Velocity’s popular Bitchin’ Rides, an episode where the crew installs an engine into a vehicle could be shown in greater detail on-demand.
Scanlon added that the move is about tapping the rapport and trust the talent has built with the audience, “to convince them this content is legit, it’s OK and it’s stuff that you’re not going to get on Velocity. It’s really in the weeds for true enthusiasts.”
Scanlon said it is essential that the content provides something to viewers they can’t get anywhere else. But the segment seems ripe for the kind of detailed content Velocity wants to provide.
Packaging and pricing for the offerings haven’t been decided yet, but Scanlon said he has other ideas for the service as well, including taking a page from the traditional TV playbook.
“I’ve got some other ideas about creating the idea of appointment viewing behind the paywall, a show that would really require viewers to tune in at a certain day and time in order to see something time-sensitive,” Scanlon said. “That increases the value.”
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