Discovery Revamping Consumer Products Business

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IL0319kraft1In the wake of its acquisition of Scripps Networks, Discovery Inc. is revamping its licensing business to focus on deals that span consumer products and advertising across the HGTV, Discovery, Animal Planet and Food Network channels, says Discovery VP Consumer Products Licensing Carolann Dunn.

Discovery’s licensing business has been brought under Chief Advertising Sales Officer Jon Steinlauf, a former Scripps executive. The new strategy will involve “fewer and more meaningful partnerships,” says Dunn. For example, the Food Network Kitchen Inspirations line of salad dressings and sauces from Kraft Heinz will be extended to additional products and includes advertising across the channels and promotion in social media.

“Kraft Heinz is a big advertiser and we are building this line extension that touches the consumer on so many levels,” says Dunn. “It will be not only in grocery, but on air, socially and digitally and this is a 360-degree approach that we are building.”

Meanwhile, Discovery is readying a new Animal Planet DTR with a still-to-be-disclosed mass retailer. The agreement will extend beyond plush (which was the basis of a 16-year program with Toys R Us) into apparel and other products as a lifestyle program, says Dunn.

The DTR is likely to include STEM-based products, which are central to Discovery’s #Mindblown sub-brand that also includes products from licensee Merchsource, such as a gem mining kit.  Merchsource launched #Mindblown products last year that drew on the Discovery and Science Channels.  And Discovery introduced a #Mindblown app in December.

As part of STEM program, Discovery also struck an agreement with McDonald’s earlier this year to include #Mindblown robot toys with Happy Meals in a promotion that started in select markets in February and will roll out through 2020. The robots are packaged with a card that provides challenges, lessons and information about each toy and topics such as light and sound.

In addition to the channels, there will be licensing programs for “tentpole” properties such as “Shark Week,” which will include fashion collaborations later this year, and Animal Planet’s “Puppy Bowl,” says Dunn.  There also will be continued licensing for HGTV’s “Dream Home” and seasonal shows such as Food Networks’ “Christmas Cookie Challenge” and “Holiday Baking Championships. Discovery also will have licensing around YouTube star and animal expert Cayote Peterson, who is launching a new show this fall on Animal Planet. Peterson’s “Brave Wilderness” YouTube channel has 14.1 million subscribers.

Contact:

Discovery Inc., Carolann Dunn, VP Consumer Products Licensing, 212-548-5759, carolann_dunn@discovery.com