What Motivated Discovery’s $250-million Acquisition of HowStuffWorks.com

Discovery Communications, a non-fiction media company announced a $250 million acquisition deal according to the Wall Street Journal to buy out the informative HowStuffWorks website in order to expand its enormous video library content to a large web demographic. The collaboration of Discover Communications, a media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative cable subscribers in over 170 countries and HowStuffWorks, a collection of well written online articles on how stuff works, should invoke much thought into the motives.

Frank, CEO of Mefeedia.com, stated boldly that we must, “expect to see a lot more bloggers and videobloggers being acquired over the next year or so as traditional media companies ascend into the blogosphere and vlogosphere. It is being driven by the audience – newspapers and TV are losing viewership in the 18-34 year old demographic and blogs and vlogs are increasing audiences in this demographic”. As such, we must call into question the motive of Discovery and other Media outlets looking into capitalizing on lost markets and web dominance.

Previously, Discovery had seized treehugger.com for $10 million with a similar motive that brought about much speculation among users. Those for the movement were excited that treehugger would help educate the masses about environmental issues around the world along with increased global media reach. In addition, users proposed that Discovery would have an established online platform, with years of popularity and traffic along with web links and references under its wings. Those against the movement knew that there was enormous appeal to huge media companies and corporations in buying out as apposed to inventing and wondered whether this sort of growth was ever going to end. Furthermore, some feared that businesses had to be massively big to play in the global market while others feared that the biggies would redesign the whole site to get more ads and graphics in; creating downtimes and slow uploads. Greatest was the fear of inability – to maintain core identity within a larger platform that prides itself in creating content that advertisers want to be featured in.

I am hoping to differ by believing that Discovery has positive intentions and will, for the sake of small players everywhere, help these sites convey their message across to the masses in a greater capacity. Hence, as apposed to capitalizing on the fact that these sites are extremely popular with the green and knowledge conscious segment of our population and that there are huge advertising opportunities because of it.

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