Discovery finds rapid growth in international expansion

November 06, 2015  | Subscribers Only

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Discovery Communications has transformed itself from a single factual channel to a global media conglomerate which derives a bigger percentage of its revenues from the international market than any other comparable US-based company.  Reporting $6.3 billion in revenues in 2014, Discovery has built on its core business pioneering the factual reality genre on pay TV into free-to-air TV, sports, children’s TV and TV programme production. Its networks reached a claimed 2.9 billion viewers in 220 countries in over 40 languages last year. 


  • Since the launch of Discovery Channel in 1985, the media group has become a global powerhouse reaching every part of the globe through its networks
  • By expanding internationally, Discovery has managed to maintain growth despite the US market reaching its maturity. In 2014 55% of its total revenues came from its international operations and has set the goal of reaching 65% by the end of 2017
  • Discovery differs from many of its competitors by owning the majority of the content it carries on its networks, either by producing it or by acquiring it from third parties. Discovery's spending on programming has increased by five times within the last 10 years reaching $2.5 billion with 40% invested internationally
  • In 2015 Discovery purchased Eurosport, an established sports pay TV channel brand,  in an attempt to become a multi-genre media group
  • Discovery has become a more active player in the free to air market by acquiring in SBS Nordic and Switchover Media in Italy. The reasoning behind these acquisitions is to establish its brands  to the wider audience diversify its content portfolio and generate revenues from advertising
  • Discovery is expanding beyond a traditional linear TV model with two over-the-top (OTT) platforms in Europe. It currently operates Eurosport Player in 52 countries worldwide as well as DPlay in the Nordics and Italy and aims to reach one million paying subscribers within the next two years.
  • Discovery is planning to produce more than 100 hours of UHD content in 2015 as it feels its content is ideal for viewing in 4K. In addition, a recent deal with Piksel will make Discovery Channel available in 4K definition through OTT and catch-up apps.

In this report:

This report is an insight to Discovery's channel business and focuses on the reasoning and the strategies behind its international expansion and how this being achieved 

List of tables and charts:

  • Chart 1: Discovery Communications: five year financials
  • Chart 2: Discovery Communications: US versus international revenues
  • Chart 3: Discovery: Global revenues from cable networks
  • Table 1: List of acquisitions 
  • Table 2: Main channel brands details
  • Table 3: International channel brands
  • Chart 4: Discovery: Total subscribers by region in 2015
  • Chart 5: Discovery: Subscribers by region 2010-2015
  • Chart 6: Discovery: Combined revenues by region in 2015
  • Chart 7: Discovery: Combined revenus from advertising and carriage fees
  • Table 4: Rebranding of channels

Number of pages: 12
Number of tables and charts: 11

Research by Market
Media & Advertising
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