Discovery addresses AT&T deal in upfront pitch
“Well, I must say, this part of the upfront presentation was not planned,” said Zaslav, who will lead the newly combined company. Zaslav called the deal, which will combine AT&T’s media assets, like HBO and HBO Max, TNT and TBS, with Discovery’s portfolio of networks like Food Network, TLC and HGTV and Discovery+, “momentous.”
“It will create a unique entertainment company that will enthrall audiences on every screen, every platform and in every country around the world,” he said, thanking advertisers for helping the company to reach this point. But the media mogul stopped short of providing any real tangible details about the deal or how it will impact advertisers.
On Monday, the two companies announced that AT&T’s media assets will be combined with Discovery. As part of the deal, AT&T will receive $43 billion cash and debt securities, and WarnerMedia will be spun off and combined with Discovery, in an all-stock move called a Reverse Morris transaction.
As it has done in the past, Discovery used its presentation to tout its unscripted programming, which Jon Steinlauf, chief U.S. advertising sales officer at Discovery, said they were able to create even amid pandemic lockdowns. But soon, Discovery will need to change that rhetoric as it merges with a scripted juggernaut.
Discovery will look to push advertisers away from the typical 18-49 demographics the industry has long relied on, to embrace older audiences who are still watching linear TV. Steinlauf says the company will give incentives to advertisers who shift to 18+ and 25+ metrics.
Discovery also introduced its ad sales equity and inclusion solutions, which is a collection of resources to help clients reach and engage with diverse audiences in “thoughtful and purpose-driven ways.”
“We are also committed to inclusion in our storytelling, both in front of and behind the camera, knowing that audiences more deeply connect with content when they see themselves reflected in it,” Steinlauf said.
The TV industry is expected to introduce new opportunities and solutions for brands to better reach and more authentically connect with diverse audiences, helping advertisers in their multicultural marketing initiatives.
Discovery also announced it partnered with ad measurement company iSpot.tv to deliver advertisers information on the effectiveness of their advertising across its linear and streaming footprint in the U.S.
By the third quarter, all of the individual Discovery Go apps will feature content from all 15 brands.
This was Discovery’s first upfronts presentation hosted during what has historically been considered “broadcast week.”
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