As an eventful 2016 comes to a close, we are excitedly looking toward 2017 on the horizon and reflecting on some of our biggest milestones of the year – from talented executive hires to memorable network specials – realizing that this year has certainly been one for the books. And we wouldn’t be who we are without the support of fans and audiences across the globe that continue to inspire us to satisfy curiosity and make an impact on and off the screen.
Discovery has a long-standing tradition of leveraging the power of its brands and employees to make the world a better place, striving to celebrate and sustain the magic of our earth’s people, animals and natural resources. The past year has been highlighted by several major corporate social responsibilities initiatives, including our commitment to protecting tigers through Discovery Project C.A.T.; the announcement of our expanded paid parental leave and new caregiver leave policies; our coveted spot on Working Mother Magazine’s “100 Best Companies” list; our #1 rank among all media companies on Forbes’ inaugural “America’s Most Just Companies” list; and the most widespread and impactful Say Yes to the Prom series to date, with even more up our sleeve for 2017.
As we all know, the media landscape is rapidly changing – from the traditional model of linear TV to 10-second disappearing snaps – and we are excited to evolve with these trends. In 2015, Discovery GO was born, and we ended 2016 with our new Discovery family of apps in over 70 percent of all U.S. cable homes, delivering fan favorites to audiences whenever and wherever they are. With digital evolution in mind, several key investments highlighted the year – including strategic investments in Group Nine Media, DivvyCloud, VS MEDIA, OTOY, and a long-term partnership with MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM). Not to mention the ongoing growth and success of our virtual reality offering, Discovery VR, which brings breathtaking content from the most remote corners of the world straight to you – whenever and wherever you are.
Of course, with the rapid pace of the industry, you need top talent to keep up. That’s why Ralph Rivera, Mike Lang, Suzanne Kolb, Michael Bishara, Rebecca Howard, and more joined the Discovery family this year. We also announced that we will soon welcome Gunnar Wiedenfels as the company’s new CFO starting in 2017. We are thrilled to have them on board and are looking forward to the direction they take their teams in 2017 and beyond.
Without a doubt, 2016 has been a memorable year in Discovery network programming as well. Shark Week once again brought fans across America together for the single greatest week of the year (OK, I’m biased), while JonBenet: An American Murder Mystery left audiences with mouths agape, unearthing the case that captivated the nation two decades later. Roaring onto screens everywhere was Harley and the Davidsons, a three-part scripted series on Discovery Channel that was both a bold move and a successful one, capturing the attention of 4.5 million viewers across the U.S.
Perhaps the most exciting corporate news comes from Eurosport, where the Olympic Games will call their exclusive home starting in 2017. As a global Discovery family, we are thrilled to watch the growing success of Eurosport as the number one sports destination in Europe.
As we turn our eyes to the future, we keep a keen eye on our roots and strive to continue inspiring curiosity, fueling passion and taking you where you’ve never been before.