Discovery has acquired a stake in VS Media, a Chinese multichannel network business.
The MCN offers Chinese consumers locally made entertainment content from a roster of 500 creators. It works with the content creators, giving them studio space, funding, marketing and commercial assistance, and VS Media content now registers about 320 million views a month. It has 55 million subs.
Discovery has taken an unspecified minority stake in the business, which was founded in 2013 by Chinese entrepreneur Ivy Wong.
“I admire the strong community spirit Ivy has fostered with local creators and their followers,” said Arthur Bastings, president and managing director of Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific. “As Discovery looks to build deeper traction in the Chinese-speaking markets, VS MEDIA’s robust following is incredibly valuable to us. Through their advanced analytics, we can get fully plugged in to the Chinese millennial zeitgeist.”
Ivy Wong added: “This partnership is a significant milestone in our company’s evolution. We believe that everyone can be an influencer as well as a digital entrepreneur. We continue to uncover, nurture and present the next generation of talent, raising the bar and setting industry best practices.”
Discovery has bought in soon after Chinese state-backed private equity fund CMC invested in the business.
With investment in hand, VS Media said it is creating a new US$4 million investment fund. It will also have access to content from Discovery Digital Networks, the Discovery division that produces and distributes millennial-skewed content. This content will be localised for the VS Media platform.
Discovery has agreed several China-focused partnerships including a content deal with WASU Digital TV Media Group for WASU’s pay TV channel Qiu Suo, and a mobile docs deal with online distributor Viddsee.
The VS Media deal is the latest from Discovery Asia under the stewardship of Arthur Bastings, who rejoined the company last year. The division’s Korea operation has been restructured and a new boss brought in, in India on Bastings’ watch.