Vikki Neil will lead the group, with a promotion to executive vice president and general manager. She had been senior vice president and general manager of Scripps Lifestyle Studios, the digital division of Scripps Networks Interactive, which Discovery acquired earlier this year. She will continue to report to Kathleen Finch, chief lifestyle brands officer.
After its absorption of Scripps, Discovery now operates a formidable stable of unscripted brands, including HGTV and Food Network, which complement its existing portfolio led by networks like Discovery and TLC.
While some skeptics have wondered about the $14.6 billion price tag for the Scripps deal, David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery, has been vocal in recent months about the options it affords the combined company. At a Wall Street conference last month, he said the company is “starting to reposition” itself via more digital and direct-to-consumer offerings.
“Vikki has played a vital role for many years in the growth of our lifestyle brands’ digital and social engines, and has driven tremendous value for superfans, partners and clients,” Finch said in a press release. “Top quality digital content is invaluable for strengthening brands and attracting future audiences, and I look forward to Vikki’s leadership of the expanded Digital Studios Group in support of even more brands at the new Discovery.”
The new group will be closely aligned with Discovery’s TV Everywhere and direct-to-consumer businesses, which are led by Peter Faricy, CEO of Direct-to-Consumer.