APOS: Discovery to Increase Production in Australia and New Zealand

Discovery Inc. is planning to ramp up its local production in New Zealand and Australia, with a view to serving both markets and the world.

Speaking at the Asia Pacific-focused APOS virtual conference on Wednesday, Glen Kyne, GM, New Zealand and Australia at Discovery, said: “The really big ambition, frankly, is we’ve got high hopes to dramatically increase our local production hours.”

“We want to be able to do that locally in New Zealand for New Zealand eyeballs, and equally, we want to do the same in Australia for Australian eyeballs, but we think there’s an opportunity to create content that can work across both markets,” Kyne said. “We know that we can create content that will work globally across the Discovery network.”

Kyne points to Australia where he said that local production had grown by 200% over the last five years and cites the example of shows “Aussie Gold Hunters” and “Outback Opal Hunters” that are not only popular in Australia and New Zealand but also working in a hundred more markets around the world. “We really want to increase that, and find more great content coming out of Australia, New Zealand that will find eyeballs around the region and around the world,” Kyne said.

In December 2020, Discovery completed a deal to acquire several free-to-air channels from New Zealand’s MediaWorks, including Three, streamer ThreeNow, news platform Newshub, Bravo, which is being operated as a joint venture with NBCUniversal, and The Edge TV and The Breeze TV. Discovery also operates free-to-air channels HGTV and Choice TV via a deal with Top TV. The network’s existing New Zealand portfolio includes pay-TV channels Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Food Network, Living and Discovery Turbo.

“We’ve got a big portfolio. We want to build scale audience across that portfolio,” Kyne said. “We think that there are some clear opportunities to bring content to the market through both increasing the amount of local production we’re doing and acquiring content and leveraging content from the Discovery portfolio.”

Kyne said that the plan is to focus on Three where already 35% of its content is locally produced and there are plans to increase that. Regarding the rollout of Discovery Plus in the region, Kyne said that the intention is to bring the streamer into New Zealand, but after deploying specific product and market plans, and until then investment will be concentrated on ThreeNow.

The executive also mentioned that advertising revenues in New Zealand were hit hard by COVID-19 but bounced back thanks to the country’s rapid and robust response in quelling the pandemic.

Addressing Australia, which is a mature market, Kyne said that consumers there are prepared to pay for multiple services and the ARPU is high. “That’s really encouraging for us to have that environment to launch Discovery Plus,” said Kyne.

“The key though is you’ve got to have a differentiated value proposition. And so, with Discovery Plus we’re not trying to be Netflix, we’re not trying to be Disney,” said Kyne. “We consider ourselves best in class, really, in real life entertainment. And we think that as a companion service to others, we’re very well positioned to take advantage of market maturity in Australia.”

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