With the newly launched Discovery Access, Discovery Communications is, in the words of VP of footage sales Jocelyn Shearer, “opening the floodgates” and allowing producers of all stripes to license footage made available from all Discovery brands.
“Heretofore, we haven’t made our footage available except for the select few occasions where people sought us out and the opportunity looked big enough,” explains Peter McKelvy, VP of footage and music services. “We’re giving producers around the world access to this incredible content and world-class footage that has been in our archives for 25 years.”
Shearer says there’s a whopping 100,000 hours of content in the vaults and that a fair amount of it has been digitized already for internal uses. As for the amount that will be available at launch, Shearer says it will be “the tip of the iceberg” but that it will be an offering that will be growing daily.
“We’ve committed to a fair volume of constant refresh,” says Shearer, who came to Discovery Studios in September of last year after stints with Corbis, Getty Images and most recently, National Geographic. “We have the entire archive available so either online or offline we can go digging for anything.”
That means content from a huge range of production collaborators and cinematographers – McKelvy cites Bob Poole, Simon Reay and Douglas Glover as just a few of the top names represented in the offering. Shearer says Access will offer a “combo pack” of online pricing, where customers can name the rights they need and add up their purchases with an auto-calculator, and person-to-person customer service.
“One thing a website can’t do and in many cases won’t do is adequately set expectations,” she says. “So if someone comes to us and says, ‘Here are my tech requirements, here are my deadlines and here’s what I want editorially,’ we can come up with a plan to meet those needs in a way that a website can’t.”
Both McKelvy and Shearer say they and their staff are eager to work with producers of assorted media, from broadcast to digital. “We have a direct connection to our production arm so we’re of that mindset,” says Shearer. “There are new platforms out there and some business structures are not yet fully realized. We’re willing to work with producers of all kinds of content and feel our way through this industry with them.”
“Our message to producers is we really want our content to be part of their stories,” sums up McKelvy.