Discovery Communications recently announced the consolidation of its internet offerings into a single entity. The resulting company, Discovery.com, is designed to attract both television viewers and web browsers to the new site. Seven portals (Animals/Pets, Travel, Lifestyle, School and Kids, Health, and Discoveries), representing the various Discovery brands, connect viewers to content and e-commerce opportunities related to programming. Web surfers can link to complimentary sites through search engines.
Discovery is investing US$500 million into Discovery.com over the next five years. The money will be divided between the seven portals to make each competitive with other sites of a similar focus. The portals for School, Health, Discoveries and Animals/Pets will be the first to receive funds. ‘We are declaring for the initial four that they will be leaders in their categories for content and commerce, measured by revenue and reach,’ says Andrew Sharpless, executive VP of interactive media. ‘We’re putting money in to get those to that level by the end of next year.’
Discovery Communication’s chairman and CEO John Hendricks will assume the same title with the new online company. Michela English, former president of Discovery Enterprises Worldwide, is Discovery.com’s president and chief operating officer.
Discovery Health Media remains a separate but related multimedia entity, governing both Discovery Health Channel and Discoveryhealth.com. Explains Sharpless ‘There has been a lot of success to date with the organizational arrangements that combine Discovery Health Network with Discovery. We’re basically recognizing the success of that and making sure that Discovery.com will continue to have a health piece that’s very tightly integrated with the network. To the end user, it won’t look any different from the website.’