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Discovery boss says serving the “superfan” is key to success

Other CES day two highlights include news on Disney's OTT service and a discussion about audience fragmentation

As OTT video becomes more prolific and consumers continue to change their viewing habits, serving the “superfan” with curated content has become increasingly paramount, Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav told that audience at a CES keynote discussion.

Zaslav said Discovery will continue to focus non-fiction fare, which emphasises “enthusiasts and superfan networks”. He revealed that focus had been a big influence of Disovery’s planned take over of Scripps Networks Interactive, which offers a complement of networks and content in non-fiction.

He also stressed the importance of not just owning the content, but also owning the global distribution rights. Discovery owns all of the content on its platforms all across the globe, with the exception of its Eurosport channels.

The emergence of OTT and direct-to-consumer offerings have opened the door to smart data that can help detect viewing patterns according to a panel on audience fragmentation.

Kristin Dolan , the former COO of Cablevision Systems (now part of Altice USA) who is now CEO of 605 LLC, an audience and data analysts company said “It’s more about platform-shifting than cord-cutting.” reports Multichannel.

Ben Sherwood, president of Disney-ABC Television Group was also among the speakers at CES on Wednesday. He told Variety‘s Entertainment Summit his division will be the largest contributor to Disney’s planned 2019 OTT service.

Disney-ABC TV will supply 7,000-8,000 episodes from its library, plus three to four original series, and some original movies. 

Asked about the challenges facing traditional TV – with declining viewership – Sherwood said, “Every decade, the obituaries are written about television. In my view, the sky is not falling. The sky is rising.”