Discovery Communications is acquiring Scripps Networks Interactive in a $14.6 billion deal announced today. Once finalized, Discovery will produce around 8,000 hours of original programming yearly and 7 billion short-form video streams monthly. It will also control approximately 20 percent of ad-supported, pay-TV audiences in the US and host eight of viewers' top 10 favorite channels.
With the acquisition, Discovery will not only expand its channel portfolio, it will also gain a large portion of the US female audiences that Scripps channels currently attract. The combined company will claim 20 percent of primetime female viewership. Discovery, home to TLC, Animal Planet and Discovery Channel outbid Viacom for the purchase of Scripps, which includes HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel among its channel offerings. The deal will save the companies around $350 million in costs and will give Discovery more leverage when negotiating contracts with distributors. It will also help Discovery's position if it decides to offer a skinny bundle of its programming in the future, which is important as viewers continue to move towards streaming and on-demand viewing over scheduled broadcasts.
"We believe that by coming together with Scripps, we will create a stronger, more flexible and more dynamic media company with a global content engine that can be fully optimized and monetized across our combined networks, products and services in every country around the world," said Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav in a statement.
Discovery is paying 70 percent cash and 30 percent stock for the deal, which is expected to close in early 2018.