Discovery Communications has acquired a minority stake in VS Media, a Chinese multi-channel network that, according to Discovery, is the largest of its kind in the country with more than 55 million subscribers and 320 video views per month.
The move comes as Discovery aims to build traction in Chinese-speaking markets, particularly among the country’s millennials.
“Through (VS Media’s) advanced analytics, we can get fully plugged into the Chinese millennial zeitgeist,” Arthur Bastings, president and managing director of Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific said in a statement.
VS Media, which was founded in 2013 by entrepreneur Ivy Wong (pictured), consists of 500 creators from China who create content across all verticals.
“This group of digital natives is the most mobile-connected generation in history with a huge thirst for online content. Discovery’s great track record in innovative and immersive storytelling, coupled with VS Media’s cutting-edge community, presents a creative and unique content ecosystem to meet this ever-growing demand,” Bastings added.
For VS Media, the investment means more resources for talent and production expertise from Discovery to help maximize opportunities for creators in and outside of China.
VS Media has also received financial backing from CMC Holdings, an investment platform launched in 2015 by China Media Capital, a private equity fund focused on the media and entertainment sectors in China. Through the recent investments, the network is setting up a content development fund worth $4 million U.S. which will be used to collaborate with creators and produce new formats. So far, VS Media has identified five new concepts from its creators, all of which are untitled as of yet:
- A dramatic documentary series centered around the fast-moving world of e-sports;
- A VR series with exploring local fashion designers in China;
- A “rockumentary” on up-and-coming musician Tien, who will be performing for the President of Cuba;
- A travelogue shot in VR featuring three prominent viral stars from Taiwan, Hong Kong and China; and
- A dramedy by VS Media creator Jin Da Wei, who presents a humorous take on the industry, the misconceptions and the journey to online fame.