Discovery’s Kathleen Finch
By Mansha Daswani
As chief lifestyle brands officer at Discovery, Inc., Kathleen Finch oversees some of the biggest, most well-known channels in the pay-TV universe, including Food Network, Travel Channel, TLC and ID. She assumed the post earlier this year after driving the strong performance of HGTV and Food Network, among other services, in her long tenure at Scripps Networks Interactive. With the integration of the Discovery and Scripps portfolios now complete, Finch talks to TV Real Weekly about the importance of brands, the art of finding compelling lifestyle personalities and the keys to driving viewer engagement.
TV REAL: How did you go about integrating the Discovery and Scripps channels under the lifestyle group? And how did you get to know the DNA of the Discovery channels you added to your remit?
FINCH: The integration has been going great. So many of us across the aisles at Scripps and Discovery knew each other long before [the merger], and it’s been fun to have everybody working together. The DNA between the two is similar. The channels are very brand-focused and very consumer-focused—we don’t make a move without thinking about what our consumer is going to want. On a practical level, in the months we’ve been together I’ve had two big cross-network brainstorming meetings. Even though we all liked each other, we were frenemies before this! So it was fun to get all the creative people in a room, spending the whole day together spit-balling ideas. A lot came out of those. [Drew Scott from] Property Brothers on HGTV was getting married, so we did a wedding special on TLC. We have some TLC talent that are coming over to Food Network to be guest judges on Chopped. We’ve had a lot of fun.
When you hear Travel, Food Network and HGTV, you know they’re about traveling, eating and homes! Equally, ID, the number one [cable] network for women, has this passionate audience of women who are interested in crime investigation and mysteries unfolding. The length of tune is among the top in the industry. And on TLC, one of the things we love to do is celebrate people and relationships and circumstances that don’t generally get celebrated. The through-line there is really about sharing lives with people and everyone is accepted. We tell intimate stories about people, with a lot of drama and emotion. They’re different from a Food Network brand, but they all have passionate audiences that are pretty consistent night by night.
This interview continues here.
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