Discovery Buys HowStuffWorks.com

October 16th, 2007

It’s Official. Discovery Communications said Monday that it has acquired HowStuffWorks, a how-to site. This site has been one of my personal favorites and we’ve talked about it many times in the past.

Founded by North Carolina State University Professor Marshall Brain in 1998, HowStuffWorks is the leading source of credible, unbiased, and easy-to-understand explanations of how the world and the things in it actually works. HowStuffWorks built its audience in part by focusing its content on topics that are often the subject of search queries on Google and other search engines.

It has won multiple Webby awards, was among Time magazine’s “25 Websites We Can’t Live Without” in 2006 and 2007, and was among PC Magazine’s “Top 100 Web Sites” four times including in 2007. HowStuffWorks is headquartered in Atlanta , GA , and has been a subsidiary of The Convex Group, a media and technology company, since 2003.

Discovery will add HowStuffWorks.com to its portfolio of properties, which includes Animal Planet and the Discovery channel. Discovery will also launch a new show based on the website.

According to a statement , HowStuffWorks has 11 million global monthly unique users, up 25 percent from a year ago. Discovery didn’t disclose the price tag for HowStuffWorks, but the Wall Street Journal put the price at about $250 million ( see Techmeme ).

Discovery said it will integrate its TV and video assets such as Mythbusters and How It’s Made with HowStuffWorks.com. Meanwhile, How Stuff Works will become a new show on the Discovery channel in the summer of 2008. Discovery has been making a series of moves to expand its online offerings. It also owns Petfinder.com to complement the Animal Planet channel and TreeHugger.com, which will go with Discovery’s Planet Green television network.

I like the Discovery channel for its desire to broadcast shows that may not be quite mainstream. How about Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe (the guy is whacked) or perhaps Deadliest Catch (fishing for Alaska King Crab – my mother-in-laws favorite meal)? Coming soon – Storm Chasers – the promo’s look very exciting, are they chasing twisters or is it the other way around?

I’m looking forward to seeing what Discovery does for HowStuffWorks. Hopefully they’ll continue to build the brand and keep the 160 existing HowStuffWorks employees working for many years to come.

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