Discovery forms global new media group

MUMBAI: Discovery Communications has announced it has created a consolidated global new media group to leverage the strength of its distinctive real-world media and entertainment brands, content and services across emerging digital platforms in markets around the world.

The company has brought together some of its top executives from its global operations to steer the new group.

Discovery's new media group will develop a growing stable of global interactive assets, as well as manage the company's existing activities, future opportunities and strategic investments as they develop. The consolidated group brings together Discovery's worldwide efforts to create content and businesses for new distribution platforms including broadband, wireless and mobile devices, video on demand, the company's websites and satellite radio service and other interactive activities.

Discovery Communications president and CEO Judith A. McHale says, "We believe that no other media company has assets as strong as ours when it comes to this new media world. From the quality and trustworthiness of our brands and the entertaining nature of our content, to our vast global infrastructure and operations, we are confident that our success to date will translate to this new world of emerging platforms."

Discovery Communications' senior executive VP for strategy and development Donald A. Baer, who reports to McHale, will be in overall charge of the group. Neville Meijers, who previously served as Discovery Asia MD has been named executive VP for business strategy and new media and will manage the New Media group, reporting to Baer. In addition to their new media responsibilities, Baer and Meijers are responsible for Discovery's ongoing long-term business strategy development and for all business development operations for the company.

Baer and Meijers have tapped two other senior managers from Discovery's worldwide operations to join in driving the New Media group's activities. Tanya Field, who for the past five years has led Discovery's international new media businesses from the company's London office, will serve as senior vice president for new media strategy and development, coordinating the investigation of key new business activity in broadband, mobile, video-on-demand and other Internet platforms, and shepherding new initiatives up to the execution and launch stage.

Clint Stinchcomb, a 13-year Discovery veteran who most recently served as Discovery HD Theater and Discovery on Demand senior VP has been named as the senior VP for new media operations. He will launch, implement and oversee Discovery's global new media businesses, following the development stage.

Before formalising the organisational structure of the global New Media group, the company has been actively pursuing worldwide opportunities to extend the Discovery brand to new portals. Discovery has already deployed content for mobile devices with 21 carriers in 11 countries, built a broadband portal in the UK and rolled out VOD with 20 carriers in 10 countries, in addition to the robust VOD service available in the U.S.

The new media group team will work closely with the management of all of the company's content and product operations units to ensure that Discovery's brands and services take full advantage of emerging opportunities.

Baer says, "We are the world's leader in making video-based information entertaining and entertainment informative, and our brands, like Discovery Channel, translate this appeal to people all over the world. To expand our reach as the leading global real world media and entertainment company, it is crucial that we capitalize on the possibilities new media affords to showcase our brands, content and businesses. Our goal is to develop leading edge applications that take full advantage of quality Discovery content on multiple platforms, emphasising the flexibility and utility of our programming while maximising the benefits of new platforms."

The Discovery US-based websites, known as Discovery iMedia, will report to this new group as part of the further integration of Discovery's future efforts to maximise all opportunities with regard to new media and Internet platforms.

Meijers says, "We are centralising our efforts to achieve long-term growth and business building across our company. Chief among the team's responsibilities will be the creation of product and services that can become businesses with significant development potential. This nimble new team will help Discovery tap its heritage and continue its growth as a major multi-platform media leader."

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