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Discovery Forms Digital Studios Group Headed by Vikki Neil

Discovery has reorganized its digital-video operations with the formation of the Digital Studios Group, a newly expanded hub for digital and social-video content creation spanning all the company’s brands.

Leading the group is Vikki Neil, a former Scripps Networks Interactive exec, who has been promoted executive VP and general manager of the Discovery Digital Studios Group. Neil will continue to report to Kathleen Finch, Discovery’s chief lifestyle brands officer. Previously, Neil was senior VP and GM of Scripps Lifestyle Studios, the digital division of Scripps Networks Interactive (which is now part of Discovery after it closed the SNI acquisition earlier this year).

Discovery’s Digital Studios Group will serve as a “one-stop shop” for creative and branded content for Discovery sites and social channels, working with the company’s TV Everywhere and direct-to-consumer businesses, led by former Amazon exec Peter Faricy.

The digital businesses of the legacy Discovery brands in the U.S. were previously overseen by Karen Leever, formerly GM of digital media at Discovery. Last week, Leever moved into a new role as president of U.S. digital products and marketing, reporting to Faricy.

“Vikki has played a vital role for many years in the growth of our lifestyle brands’ digital and social engines, and has driven tremendous value for superfans, partners and clients,” Finch said in a statement.

At Scripps, Neil oversaw the growth of the cable programmer’s digital business, including websites and apps for Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel. She also played a key role in launching Genius Kitchen, the company’s first food and pop culture-focused over-the-top video platform, and acquiring Spoon University, the food-focused media company aimed at college students.

Discovery’s new Digital Studios Group group will continue to have P&L responsibility for the Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel and TLC sites and social platforms, while expanding into content responsibility for other brands as well as providing digital branded-entertainment content and digital creative and audience support to the company’s U.S. ad sales division.

Before joining Scripps Networks Interactive, Neil spent several years overseeing E.W. Scripps’ digital classified products for newspapers and launched the first digital newsroom experiences for local digital TV stations. She previously held roles at Disney’s media group, focusing on digital product development for ESPN.com and ABCNews.com. Neil holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from East Tennessee State University.

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