Media and entertainment company Discovery, Inc. intends to invest $16 million to expand its global technology and operations hub in Loudoun County, Governor Ralph Northam announced on Thursday.
Discovery announced in January that it would move its headquarters from Silver Spring, MD, to New York City. The $7.4 billion company operates several cable channels, including TLC and Animal Planet. It was moving as it acquired Scripps Networks Interactives, which operates HGTV, the Food Network and the Travel Channel.
The company consolidated its headquarter operations in New York, moving most of its 1,300 jobs from Maryland; however the company announced it would also transform its media distribution facility, located along Shaw Road in Sterling, into Discovery’s Northern Virginia Technology Hub.
Virginia competed against Maryland and New York for the project, which is expected to create 240 new jobs.
Loudoun County worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to win the project. Northam approved a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund, to be matched with another $500,000 from Loudoun which county supervisors have not yet approved. The company’s employee training will also receive funding through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
Northam said in a statement announcing the move that it is “an exciting win.”
“Northern Virginia is a magnet for technology talent, and we are confident Discovery will continue to benefit from a world-class workforce pipeline in its next phase of growth,” Northam said. “Creating well-paid, 21st-century jobs is critical to strengthening Virginia’s economy, and Discovery is a valuable corporate partner that will greatly contribute to our efforts.”
Discovery’s programs are available in 220 countries and territories and 50 languages, now including Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, Turbo/Velocity, Animal Planet, and Science Channel, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport. The company creates more than 8,000 hours of original programming a year. More than 80 media feeds, including the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and TLC, will be distributed from the Loudoun location.
“This is exactly the kind of business diversification that we need and welcome,” said Loudoun Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large). “I am proud that one of the world’s leading media companies will make this investment in jobs and infrastructure in our County.”
“Virginia’s strong technology infrastructure, workforce and attractive business climate provide the ideal location for our global technology and operations hub, and we are excited to expand our footprint in the state,” said David Zaslav, President and Chief Executive of Discovery.
“With our talented workforce and a globally recognized internet hub, Loudoun is the perfect location for Discovery to build on their industry-leading efforts to move all of Discovery U.S. networks origination to the cloud,” said Loudoun Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer.