Discovery launches HGTV in Latin America

HGTV in Latin America. Image: HGTV website
HGTV in Latin America. Image: HGTV website

On the occasion of the launch in Latin America of the HGTV channel, one of the most successful pay-TV channels in the United States, Prensario had the opportunity to interview Fernando Medín, CEO of Discovery for the region. Here is an excerpt of what he had to say.

"What Discovery has, and especially after the Scripps purchase, is an overabundance of original content," says Medín, "and this puts us in a special position with respect to the rest of the industry. We are the world's largest linear TV subscription company."

"Unlike other channels, which must contract material to other producers, we have our own material in all our specialties and this allows us to control all the rights and not have to buy back content when the lease of the same expires."

"Discovery has its own production studio, Discovery Kids Media, for the production of children's material. We can also do co-productions, we have the recent agreement with the BBC and operate in licensing and merchandising, two activities that have become very important today and are part of the business as a whole."

"The other aspect is that the operators have become more sophisticated, and they are aware of what is happening in the United States, where HGTV is one of the five most successful channels; the offer of pay television in our region has a 'crush' of fiction and less general offer in the three fields where we act and build ourselves: the factual, where we just announced the deal with the BBC, the lifestyle, which is a category of programming that does not stop growing and post purchase of Scripps has put us in a privileged place, and finally the pre-school, which we dominate in Latin America."

"Taking up the case of the Scripps purchase, the number of channels they have is very large and we are not going to launch many of them in Latin America linearly. But we do intend to use a large part of its content non-linearly. Channels like Cooking, DIY and Travel Channel, are channels that we are not going to launch but that have a very important amount of content that we can work in different ways: through the VOD of the operator, creating a unique offer with new brands and contents; through our digital and application initiatives that we are developing; and finally, strengthening the pipeline of each of the channels. TLC is in a very strong moment of growth, Discovery Home & Health is undoubtedly the number one pan-regional lifestyle channel and Food Network that continues to grow: it increased 30% in distribution and 50% in audience in the last year. "

"Another aspect in which we are innovating in Discovery is in decentralizing the operations, which were previously concentrated in the Miami headquarters. There we continue working on corporate development, business development, but now we work with great force from Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina, as well as our own productions that comprise other countries in the region. I live in São Paulo, although I keep my house in Miami; in Colombia there are a number of graduates in digital technology from the Technical University that we are incorporating into the company since our digital HUB works there; Carolina Angarita, designated General Manager in Colombia, is also in charge of all digital operations in Latin America."

"In Mexico, a number of technical processes and advertising are handled; Brazil is a powerhouse in terms of artistic talent and production capacity, and in Argentina, we have excellent professionals both in the production of short and long formats and also materials for promotion."

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