Scripps Networks Interactive Has No Plans to Sell Content Direct to Consumer

Burton Jablin - Publicity - H 2016
Dan and Natalie Watson/Courtesy of Scripps Networks

Burton Jablin - Publicity - H 2016

"Right now, we're pretty happy where we are," says Scripps' COO Burton Jablin.

Despite the floodgates opening for over-the-top TV channels, Scripps Networks Interactive will continue to stand on the sidelines, with no plans as yet to go direct to consumer to tap surging subscription online video revenue.

Instead, the lifestyle channels operator will remain tied to cable and satellite providers to reach consumers with its core HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel brands. "Given what's going on with essentially an explosion in over-the-top [services] coming online, it will come online and we'd like to see that play itself out," Scripps Networks Interactive COO Burton Jablin told investors Thursday.

"Never say never, but if there was some sea change in the way consumers were accessing TV content, we'd look at that. Right now, we're pretty happy where we are," Jablin added during a webcast session at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2016 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills.

To show his faith in the current U.S. ecosystem, Jablin pointed to strong ad pricing and demand during the current upfront market. Scripps Networks Interactive also is eager to offer viewers live streams of its lifestyle channels online and via mobile devices to offset cable and satellite TV subscriber losses.

The channels group has deals so far with Dish Network, Sony and Sling TV, and is in talks to secure more distribution agreements. "Our strategy is to get onto all the platforms, so we're in discussions and, interestingly enough, what they're asking for is not different from any other bundling solution that's been out there for years," Scripps Networks Interactive CFO Lori Hickok told the investors conference.

The Knoxville, Ky.-based media company also is looking online with new shortform video content aimed at younger consumers, especially on social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. "We spend a lot of time thinking about how we can use new platforms to broaden our reach to new audiences and most importantly to monetize [content]," said Jablin.