Discovery Communications announced today that it has agreed to form a new consolidated joint venture with TEN: The Enthusiast Network. The venture will bring together Discovery’s automotive TV network Velocity channel and TEN’s entire automotive digital, direct-to-consumer, social and live event portfolio including brands Motor Trend, Hot Rod, Roadkill, Automobile and more than 20 others.
Discovery said the venture “will create a top automotive media company in the U.S. and an unrivaled destination for automotive enthusiasts, auto buyers and advertisers looking to reach this high-quality audience on all screens and platforms.” Discovery will take a majority controlling interest in the venture.
“Continuing with Discovery’s strategy to reach superfans on all platforms in popular and durable content categories, this joint venture brings together the most trusted media brands in the automotive industry to create a multiplatform business with the reach, talent, and consumer insights to nourish car enthusiasts on all devices,” said David Zaslav, Discovery president-CEO. “By combining popular brands like Motor Trend, Hot Rod and Velocity, this venture will create a content engine that fuels not only our linear platform but also new direct-to-consumer, social and mobile opportunities with the goal of owning the car vertical across all platforms.”
Upon closing of the transaction, the venture, to be called TEN: A Discovery Communications Company, will offer advertisers “a unified offering with a combined reach of more than 150 million automotive superfans, car buyers and a quality male audience. The new venture will also bring proven expertise in the branded content space, as well as sophisticated audience targeting capabilities,” the companies said.
While TEN’s print businesses will not be contributed to the new venture, a commercial agreement will allow for continued cross-promotion between the print portfolio and the new venture for a multiplatform, 360-degree advertising offering.
“This venture is about giving advertisers the quintessential way to reach auto enthusiasts, prospective car buyers and an affluent male audience that buys a lot more than cars,” said Paul Guyardo, chief commercial officer for Discovery Communications. “It’s also about giving consumers OTT access to world-class automotive content on every screen.”
Guyardo will serve as CEO, and chairman of the new venture’s board of directors in addition to his current responsibilities. Leading the new venture will be Scott Dickey, president of TEN, and Bob Scanlon, who will be appointed president of Velocity and TEN Video Content. Both Dickey and Scanlon will report to Guyardo.
With plans to add Velocity content to TEN’s Motor Trend OnDemand subscription video on demand (SVOD) service, the new joint venture will mark Discovery’s first direct-to-consumer push in the U.S. and a growth opportunity for the country’s top automotive video subscription service.
Motor Trend OnDemand will feature thousands of hours of automotive video, including exclusive original series, such as Roadkill, Head2Head, Dirt Everyday and Ignition alongside motorsports and live auto event content.
Motor Trend OnDemand also will offer new, original content featuring talent from series across TEN and Velocity, including Wheeler Dealers, Bitchin’ Rides, Barrett-Jackson Live, Fantomworks, Speed Is The New Black, Iron Resurrection, The Auto Firm with Alex Vega and Garage Squad, and will be available across millions of connected devices via IOS/Apple TV, Google Play, Roku, Xbox, Chromecast and Amazon platforms.
In the future, TEN has an option to put its stake in the venture to Discovery at fair market value. Discovery will have an option to acquire 100% of the new venture.
TEN is a portfolio company of GoldenTree Asset Management LP.