Discovery’s acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive could yet prove to be a game changer for the Polish market.
The news that the deal has finally been closed has firmly put the spotlight on a country where both companies have a strong presence. Discovery’s dates back many years, while Scripps has been the owner of TVN, one of Poland’s two main commercial broadcasters, since 2015.
Data produced by Nielsen Audience Measurement and published by Wirtualne Media shows that in 2017 TVN’s large portfolio of channels, including Scripps’s Travel Channel and Food Network, had a combined audience share of 18.9%. Meanwhile, those operated by Discovery Polska, including Eurosport and the DTT channel Metro TV, claimed 2.77%. Taken together, the two companies effectively accounted for one in five Polish viewers.
In gauging the views of a number of local industry representatives, Wirtualne Media also found there is almost unanimous agreement that the newly created Discovery Inc. will not close any existing TV channels it operates in Poland. Instead, we are likely to see more content from its thematic channels appear in general ones.
Discovery Inc. will also find itself in a much stronger position in its dealings with operators and advertisers than either Discovery Polska or Scripps were.
In my opinion, TVN stands to benefit hugely from its new connection with Discovery. This will help it keep up with its main rival Cyfrowy Polsat, not least in the on-demand sector, where both, despite operating the successful Player.pl (TVN) and Ipla (Cyfrowy Polsat), face huge competition from other services including VOD.pl and the foreign-owned Netflix and Showmax.
Poland is like most other mature TV markets these days: you have to be big in order to thrive. The new Discovery Inc. is in an even better position to do so than the two companies it has replaced.