Discovery unveils new programming strategy; targets launch of Travel and Adventure channel before year-end

Three months into his position as head of Discovery Communications in India, managing director Deepak Shourie today announced a new programming strategy - 'My Time on Discovery' - targeted at both viewers and advertisers. Discovery is introducing programming blocks that it says will appeal to the various target groups at times that they prefer while at the same time giving advertisers a focussed platform to reach key audiences.

The new initiative goes into effect from 1 October, 2001 and is based on studies that the channel undertook to research audience-viewing patterns across demographics, identifying the most popular day parts for each demographic, Shourie said.

Subsequently programmes were identified that would appeal to each target set and scheduled accordingly, hence -'My Time on Discovery'. The blocks that are being introduced are Sunrise (7am - 9am), Discovery Kids (3pm - 4pm), Action Zone (4pm - 5pm), Prime Time (8pm - 11pm), Friday Showcase (9pm - 11pm) and Super Sundays 7am - midnight); each of which caters to different groups.     

NEW CHANNELS: Shourie also revealed that two new channels Discovery Health and Discovery Travel and Adventure would be rolled out in India in the coming 12 months. "We are trying to have the launch of Discovery Travel and Adventure by the end of the year but there is no certainty of that happening," Shourie said.

Discovery channels dubbed in southern Indian languages were also being planned, Shourie said. At present the network offers a 24-hour parallel Hindi audio feed in addition to an English audio feed.

Discovery Channel India, which launched in 1995, is a 24-hour pay channel, reaching over 21 million homes throughout India according to company estimates. Discovery also airs as a block on Vijay TV, every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM and 3 PM to 5 PM on Saturday in addition to an afternoon slot on national broadcaster Doordarshan's Metro channel. Available via PanAmSat IV, the network is operated and managed by Discovery Communications, Inc.

In addition to Discovery, the company also beams Animal Planet, a joint venture with BBC. Animal Planet was launched in India in March 1999 but is still struggling to establish itself. Asked about this Shourie admitted as much and said the channel "needed to be repositioned, restrategised and repromoted." He however could offer no answers on how this was to be managed.

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