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By the Numbers: Discovery & WarnerMedia Combine for Huge Reach on TV, Social Video

Given just how big some of the media mergers and acquisitions of the last decade or so have been, it’s tough for any proposed corporate union to really surprise anymore. And yet, it was unexpected at the very least, when it was announced on Monday that AT&T would spin off WarnerMedia into a new venture with Discovery Inc.

There’s plenty more to say about the deal and what it means for the future of TV, both WarnerMedia and Discovery and AT&T. And we’ll get to it this week. But first, we wanted to highlight a handful of data points that underline the immense scope of this deal across both television and social video.

Per Tubular Audience Ratings, across Facebook and YouTube, Discovery picks up a machine in Warner, which has twice the number of U.S. unique viewers and 5x the minutes watched. Looking at April 2021 (media & entertainment properties, U.S. audiences only):

  • WarnerMedia
    • 100.5 million unique viewers
    • 3.8 billion minutes watched
  • Discovery, Inc. 
    • 49.5 million unique viewers
    • 805.9 million minutes watched

Tubular data shows that the combined company would be the third-most watched media property on those platforms (only behind ViacomCBS and Comcast).

On the TV side, Warner/Discovery entity TBD would represent a huge vehicle for reaching audiences. According to iSpot data from Jan. 1-April 30 2021, the combed company would’ve accounted for:

  • $2.30 billion of spend on TV (15.7% of total)
  • 427 billion TV ad impressions (20.4% of total) 
  • 2.5 million linear TV ad airings (18.2% of total)

The Network rankings that ladder up to those numbers (limited to top 11 below)

Both Warner and Discovery are also big on streaming: Discovery+ was the top streaming service by TV ad impressions in the first four months of the year, with 43.3 billion — and also the No. 1 advertiser on TV overall, by impressions. HBO Max was 10th among streaming services in the timeframe, with 1.15 billion impressions.

Additionally, we pulled some data from VIZIO’s Inscape data department and found that there is a fair amount of overlap between networks, but also more unique audience segments than you might imagine. For example, 65% of HBO viewers haven’t watched 10 minutes of CNN in Q1.

Some of the other highlights, when utilizing Inscape to examine viewership crossover between CNN, HBO, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Food Network, HGTV, Discovery Channel, TLC and DIY.

*A note about methodology: You have to do more than just flip past a station with your remote to count as a “crossover viewer” in Inscape’s system. For the data set below, the minimum threshold was set to 10 minutes.

  • The highest rate of crossover was with WarnerMedia-owned TBS and TNT (66% of TBS viewers watched at least 10 minutes of TNT in Q1, while 67% of TNT viewers checked out TBS)
  • 63% of DIY viewers also watched HGTV, the third highest rate of crossover among all networks examined
  • Food Network viewers were most likely to also watch TBS (57%), TNT (54%) and HGTV (53%) 
  • Of the Discovery-owned networks measured, CNN viewers were most likely to watch HGTV (34%) and Food Network (30%) 
  • 35% of HBO viewers tuned into at least ten minutes of CNN and 26% watched HGTV; the lowest crossover for HBO: Only 10% of viewers watched DIY
  • Roughly the same percent of Discovery Channel viewers (59%) watched TNT and TBS; the third most-popular network for this audience was HGTV (45%) 
  • The lowest crossover was between Cartoon Network and DIY, with only 9.4% of the former audience watching the latter network.  
  • TNT viewers were equally likely to watch CNN and HGTV, with a 34% corrosver for each