JB Perrette: Following a Digital North Star
At Discovery, delivering the ideal user experience with the consumer front-of-mind
By Lindsay Rubino -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/20/2012 12:01:00 AMB&C's 2012 Digital All-Stars
“It really starts with, ‘Is this something that delivers a great user experience?’ And we try to keep it as simple as that,” says Perrette, who has served as the chief digital officer for Discovery since October 2011.
With the numerous Discovery brands and offerings—which extend far past the company’s television channels to digital property How- StuffWorks and, most recently, the acquired Revision3—reaching and engaging each different audience is anything but simple. Perrette, however, says that a common thread connects the brands.
“[They are] authentic stories told by authentic people, with great storytelling woven into it,” Perrette says.
Building on the connection the audience had made with the “authentic characters,” Perrette introduced online “aftershows,” including Gold Rush, one of Discovery’s most successful series. The network later televised an episode featuring the best moments.
The televised aftershow brought the Gold Rush audience full circle—watching on television, online and then returning to the TV. While much of Discovery’s content is primarily designed for its cable channels, Perrette says that as the audience moves to other screens, more content created solely for those platforms will follow.
Perrette’s biggest push for Discovery to enter digital-only content is the acquisition of Revision3, which creates and produces original digital videos about a variety of topics, such as technology, cooking and popular science. Revision3 will continue to create original content for its own audience, but it will also “build out new areas of interest” for Discovery, Perrette says.
Although Discovery and Amazon recently struck a distribution deal, Discovery has not yet stepped into TV Everywhere, an initiative that, as a whole, Perrette wishes was “further along than it is,” he says.
“[Digital] is a space that’s moving so fast, it makes it incredibly dynamic and exciting,” Perrette says. “The downside is that it’s moving so fast that at times, I don’t think [the industry] moves fast enough.”
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