Online video and its providers have definitely made their presence known to the television industry, and we’ve seen several shows from YouTube and/or Revision3 get picked up by cable channels for TV distribution. Now, cable channels without a clear online video presence are looking for a way into the growing business, and acquisition appears to be the way that this may happen, as Revision3 was acquired by Discovery this past week. This is great for Discovery and Revision3, but what does that mean for the medium on the whole? Revision3 CEO Jim Louderback was gracious to answer some questions about it.
How Does Discovery’s Acquisition Of Revision3 Change The Game?
According to those in the know, Revision3 was bought by Discovery Communications for a ballpark figure of $30 million. Discovery had amassed $10 million to spend over the years, and then an investment group including, who else, Mark Cuban, came in with the rest.
We asked Rev3 CEO Jim Louderback some questions about the new deal:
ReelSEO: How did this acquisition come about? Any reservations about it when the possibility came up?
Jim Louderback: We’ve been talking with Discovery about working together for more than a year, it started with a distribution agreement – Scam School and App Judgment are now on Discovery.com, for example. As we got to know each other better we realized out our values, mission, culture were very similar and it just seemed natural to combine.
RSEO: What does Discovery’s acquisition of Revision3 mean for online video on the whole, and for your current programming?
JL: It’s certainly a bit of a validation for the whole web original video space, and definitely legitimizes what we’re up to. As for our current programming it just means we’ll be doing more.
RSEO: There seems to be a lot of this sentiment in the air lately: online video is “additive” or “supplemental” to television. The idea of everyone “cord-cutting” is a myth, right?
JL: The history of media is not that a new media replaces the old, but that it finds its own place in the pantheon of media. Web original video is doing just that, it’s not going to make traditional TV go away, it will just change it a bit – and probably take some of the time spent with that medium away. But certainly not all of it, and most likely not even a majority.
RSEO: Will Revision3 still be in the act of acquiring shows like “Epic Meal Time” and “The Philip DeFranco Show,” or is that Discovery’s area now? And are they planning on making their own shows for Revision3?
JL: We’re continuing down the path we’ve been on for seven years, we now just have a great company behind us. Our shared mission is to be the number one non-fiction company across all screens. And we’re well on our way to do that.
We’d like to thank Jim Louderback for taking some time to answer questions. Here’s my take:
It’s pretty clear that the idea of “cord-cutting” and the days of everyone catching everything on the Internet is an outdated idea, especially when you consider this story and what the Google/YouTube executives said before their first ever upfront, and the rumblings of Hulu’s possible requirement to show proof of a cable subscription before allowing access to their service. Internet programming will be “additive” or “supplemental” to what we see on television. We all know TV won’t go away much like newspapers or the radio won’t completely go away. It’s another form of communication that has its place and its own set of rules and standards, but it won’t replace anything completely.
And for some, that may seem like bad news, or that online video is still the kid brother to TV and won’t get the respect that it deserves. But look, as I’ll always remind, online video’s explosion is a very recent thing. YouTube launched 7 years ago, but people didn’t really start taking notice at the business possibilities until 3-4 years ago. Online video is absolutely exploding, and it makes those who love the medium think that it’s going to completely take over, which is a knee-jerk reaction.
As we’ve seen, TV shows and web video can be a successful, complementary thing. There’s still stuff web video can do better than TV, and TV better than web video. Web video’s importance will continue to increase and cable TV knows they need to get on board with it, rather than compete. I think I just said some form of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” there.